Biscayne National Park Welcomes New Citizens in Celebration of Star-Spangled Banner’s Bicentennial

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Date: June 2, 2014
Contact: Gary Bremen, 305-230-1144, x007

On Flag Day, Saturday, June 14, 2014, Biscayne National Park, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History will kick off a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner by welcoming 21 new citizens at a ceremony to be held at 3:30 pm at the park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center.At 4:00 p.m., immediately following the naturalization ceremony, the new citizens and other park visitors will join the rest of the nation including thousands expected on the National Mall, Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Valley Forge in Pennsylvania and other National Parks, for a mass singing of our national anthem. The event is free and open to the public. The Visitor Center is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, 9 miles east of Homestead, Florida.

The mass singing of the Star-Spangled Banner is potentially the largest unified event in American history, turning the national anthem into "the song that was heard around the world." Biscayne National Park is proud to be a national partner and serve as an official location for "Raise it Up! Anthem for America," a global celebration of the bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner and the lyrics penned in 1814 by Francis Scott Key after the victorious Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Led by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the vision is for Americans across the country and around the world to stop at the same time at 4:00 pm and sing the national anthem.

Biscayne's event will begin with the swearing-in of 21 new citizens in the visitor center auditorium. The National Park Service and Citizenship and Immigration Services established a formal partnership several years ago to host naturalization ceremonies in the nation's most treasured places, its National Parks. "National parks speak to who we are as a people and as a Nation," said Park Superintendent Brian Carlstrom. "Biscayne National Park is an ideal setting for such an important event, and a great place to introduce new citizens to the best America has to offer."

At the conclusion of the emotional ceremony, visitors will gather on the front porch of the visitor center overlooking Biscayne Bay. There, Hazell Alonso, a recent graduate of Little Havana's Citrus Grove Elementary School, will lead those gathered in the singing of their national anthem. More information about the nation-wide event is available at

The National Museum of American History is home to the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem. Made in the summer of 1813 by Mary Pickersgill, a professional flagmaker, the flag was originally 30 feet by 42 feet with 15 red-and-white wool stripes and 15 cotton stars on the blue canton. After the war, the flag was privately owned for many years, eventually being donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1912. Beginning in 1998, the Star-Spangled Banner underwent extensive conservation treatment. It is now on display in a custom-built environmentally controlled chamber at the museum.

For additional details on the event, contact park ranger Gary Bremen at 305-230-1144, x007. For regular updates from the park, "like" us on Facebook at , or follow us on Twitter at


Last updated: April 14, 2015

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9700 SW 328th Street
Sir Lancelot Jones Way

Homestead, FL 33033


(305) 230-1144

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