Special Program at Montezuma Castle Honors National Anthem’s Bicentennial

US flag with "Celebrate 200 years of the Star Spangled Banner"

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News Release Date: September 8, 2014

Contact: CALEB KESLER, 928-567-3322 x227

National Park ServiceNews Release
For Immediate Release –September 8, 2014
Caleb Kesler, Chief Ranger, MOCA/TUZI, 928-567-3322 x227

Special Program at Montezuma Castle Honors National Anthem's Bicentennial

CAMP VERDE, Ariz. –A special commemorative program observing 200 years of America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 14, at Montezuma Castle National Monument.

At 8:30 a.m., park rangers will raise a 15-star flag that flew in August over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. The event honors the approximate moment 200 years ago when the defenders of Fort McHenry hoisted the fort's garrison flag on the morning of September 14, 1814. As the rains ended and mists lifted off Baltimore Harbor, attorney and poet Francis Scott Key and others were able to see the 30-foot by 42-foot American "Stars and Stripes" in the early morning sun.

The image of the flag still flying despite a night of intense bombardment inspired Mr. Key to write a poem, "Defence of Fort M'Henry," which was set to the music of a popular social club song. The composition became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and would become the national anthem in 1931.

The theme of the afternoonprogram, introduced by national park ranger and veteran John P. Reid, is "Many Voices: Honoring 200 Years of Our National Anthem." Historian Debbie Roberts of Yavapai College in Prescott will give an overview of the War of 1812 and the 1814 conflict that inspired the writing of the poem. Professor Roberts specializes in American History and is a contributor to the book The Making of the West. She was an organizer and speaker at Yavapai College's recent Gettysburg Symposium.

The words to America's national anthem were originally written as a poem, and this will be addressed by Northern Arizona University professor emeritus of English, Paul Ferlazzo. Dr. Ferlazzo has a special interest in American poetry of the nineteenth century and is the author of Poetry and the American Presidency. He will discuss the enduring power of the words that were published and then set to music five days after the Battle of Fort McHenry.

A men's choir from Flagstaff will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" as it would have been sung in 1814, and then Rebecca Cauthen of Flagstaff will discuss the music of the composition. Ms. Cauthen is a music instructor with Maine Consolidated Schools in Parks, Arizona, and she recently attended a National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored workshop on the national anthem in Washington, D.C.

David Eidson of Cottonwood, tenor soloist for Verde Valley Voices, will perform the national anthem at the conclusion of the program. After Mr. Eidson's performance, anyone who would like to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" is invited in recognition of the theme "Many Voices."

Admission to Montezuma Castle National Monument is $5 per adult, with children ages 15 and under admitted free. There is no additional fee for the special program, and all Federal Recreation Passes will be honored, including Annual, Golden Age, Senior, Access, and Military passes. Montezuma Castle is located at 2800 Montezuma Castle Road in Camp Verde, Arizona. For more information, please call 928-567-3322, extension 0.

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Last updated: February 24, 2015

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