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Sing out on Flag Day today in Pleasanton

Nationwide sing-along starts at 1 p.m. in Lions Wayside Park

Flag Day often slips by unnoticed, but not this year.

This is the bicentennial of the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key in 1814 after he spotted a flag above Fort McHenry that showed it had survived the British bombardment. To mark the 200th anniversary of that event, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is organizing Americans across the country to gather at 4 p.m. EST today to sing the national anthem.

In Pleasanton, members of the Jose Maria Amador Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will gather at Wayside Park at 1 p.m. today and they hope others will want to sing, too.

"The public is welcome to join us in the singing of the National Anthem at 1 p.m. as other people will be doing across the USA," Nancy Wilhelm of the local DAR said in an email.

DAR members, families and friends are meeting at the park at noon for a bring-your-own picnic, and Wilhelm also extended an invitation to that.

"Since the Farmers Market takes place from 9-1, it would be awesome to have people join us," she said.

They will be dressed in red, white and blue apparel, she added, so it will be easy to find them.

The flag from Fort McHenry that inspired Key has been on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History since it opened in 1964, and in honor of the museum's 50th anniversary and the bicentennial of the writing of "The Star Spangled Banner," the Smithsonian is organizing "Raise it Up! Anthem for America." The sing-along will take place on The National Mall in Washington, D.C., as well as across the country and at American posts around the world.

Although the American flag's birthday was celebrated for many years on June 14, the date in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress adopted the flag of the United States, President Woodrow Wilson made Flag Day official in 1916. Congress established National Flag Day in 1949.

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