Oak Ridge will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the national anthem on Sunday afternoon at the Oak Ridge Civic Center Amphitheater.
The Star-Spangled Banner Day celebration starts at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The Oak Ridge Civic Center complex is located at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.
A short program honoring the national anthem will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the national anthem will be sung at 5:00 p.m., a press release said.
“We’d like to invite families across Tennessee to join America’s Secret City in honoring this important national anniversary,” said Jane Miller, Oak Ridge mayor pro tem. “This will be a wonderful event as we celebrate the birthday of our national anthem and pay honor to the great United States of America.”
The event is jointly sponsored by the City of Oak Ridge, Anderson County, Roane County, the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Knoxville/Oak Ridge Staybridge Suites Hotel, and the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. Everyone is invited to this community event, the press release said. Families are welcome to bring their own chairs and blankets to sit on.
“Anderson County is honored to co-sponsor this event to celebrate our national anthem and all it signifies in American history,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “I hope everyone will attend.”
“This Sunday is an excellent time to honor our wonderful country,” said Roane County Mayor Ron Woody. “This should be great fun for the entire family.”
On September 3, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam issued a proclamation honoring the anthem’s bicentennial and declaring September 14, 2014, to be “Sing It America” Star-Spangled Banner Day. The non-partisan group, Sing It America, is asking people across the country come together to sing the national anthem at 5 p.m. on that date (www.singitamerica.com).
The governor’s proclamation was the result of an initiative by four Oak Ridge state legislators who jointly requested the recognition, the press release said. The four Oak Ridge legislators are Senator Randy McNally, Senator Ken Yager, Representative John Ragan, and Representative Kent Calfee.
“We wanted Tennessee to become a part of this wonderful anniversary,” McNally said. “We really appreciate the Governor’s support.”
“The national anthem’s words carry hope around the world,” Yager said. “I hope citizens throughout Tennessee can join us in honoring the song.”
The “Star-Spangled Banner” commemorates the events of September 13 and 14, 1814, at Fort McHenry during the pivotal Battle of Baltimore.
At “dawn’s early light” on September 14 that year, Francis Scott Key anxiously watched to see Fort McHenry continue to resist a heavy British naval bombardment. To his great relief, he saw a large American flag proudly waving over the fort. He expressed his thanksgiving “that our flag was still there” in an immortal poem.
The poem was later set to music and formally adopted as our national anthem in 1931.
“Had America not prevailed in the War of 1812, our nation would have likely divided into a group of smaller independent entities—with far-reaching results,” said Martin McBride, of the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association.
During the Sunday afternoon program, the Anderson County School Navy Junior ROTC Color Guard will formally present the colors and the Oak Ridge High School Ensemble will lead the public in the national anthem at 5 p.m.
For more information, contact Miller at (865) 482-9727, Debi Boody of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau at (865) 482-7821,or McBride of the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association at (865) 482-5386. You may also visit the city’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov.