The Star Spangled Banner

7000_01Tomorrow is the 4th of July (Independence Day).

A few years ago we were on a historical tour and stayed in Washington D.C. While there we spent a few days at the Smithonian and got to see this amazing piece of American history.

I was surprised at it’s size. Originally 30 x 42 feet it now measures 30 x 34. To get an idea of the deminsions, a 2 car garage is 24 x 24.

I compared seeing the flag to my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon — pictures don’t do it justice.

When we were there, they were working on restoration and people were laying on their stomachs on a platform extended over the flag. 3600_04

I thought at the time that the damage and reduced size was only due to deterioration and elements while it was flying, but in reading more, it seems that after the battle, the Armistead family occasionally gave away pieces of it as souveniers and gifts. If only they had known. The original had fifteen stars but one was given as a gift so the current flag has fourteen because unfortunately, the recipient and current whereabouts of the fifteenth star are unknown.

The Star Spangled Banner will never fly again, but it doesn’t diminish it’s presence. If you’re ever at the Smithsonian I would recommend seeing it. To me it was awe inspiring. It lays in a 2,000 square foot conservation laboratory on a 35 foot cylinder that rolls out onto a table large enough to hold the entire banner. This preservation exhibit brings the banner closer to visitors than ever before.

There are a lot of articles about this national treasure online. A couple I particularily like is “What Happened To The Star-Spangled Banner’s missing star?”
and “The Star-Spangled Banner and It’s Missing Star”.


8 responses to “The Star Spangled Banner

  1. What a cool thing to be able to see. I’m not sure I remember it from when we were there, but that was back in 1984. Lol. And wow…they are really careful while doing restorations, aren’t they? That’s pretty incredible. Is this the first flag ever made? Oh, okay. I went to the Smithsonian institute and found this: On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812.
    That explains which flag it is, I guess. An awesome thing to view.
    I hope you have a safe and happy Independence Day!

  2. There is so much to see at the Smithsonian, we were fortunate to see the flag as it wasn’t planned. I’d like to go back, I could spend weeks there.

    Wishing everyone a Happy Safe 4th Of July.

  3. I’ve seen this lovely flag many times and was so glad when they decided to restore it. It’s such an important part of our heritage. It used to hang on one of the walls and you’re right, the size is impressive. I grew up about 30 miles outside D.C. so I was lucky enough to visit the museum many times. Happy 4th to you, Lavada. Jillian

  4. That is absolutely amazing. I can only imagine what an awe-inspiring sight it is. I’d love to visit the Smithsonian one day.

    Hope you all had a safe and happy 4th July!

  5. Valerie J. Patterson

    I really enjoyed this article, Lavada. I love DC, and I am always amazed at how clean the city is and how respectful of our history a majority of people are…foreign and domestic. The Smithsonian is a massive museum with many parts and requires at least a month–if not more–to truly explore it. I’m so glad you shared your experience here. I will look for the flag on my next visit. 😛

  6. Am very late in catching up on all the enjoyable posts here and so I hope you’ll forgive me for the belated “Happy July 4th”. Loved your photos of those talented ladies working in the flag – a very worthwhile effort indeed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s