BALTIMORE, M.D. -- Two important pieces of American history will be brought together for the very first time in an incredibly special display open to the public.
Francis Scott Key's hand-written manuscript of "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore since 1953. The words we know by heart, written 200 years ago, will now join the original flag in Washington. They'll be displayed side by side.
"There are people who are very touched by the fact that this has actually survived. And they're looking at the original work that Francis Scott Key himself did," said Burt Kummerow, Maryland Historical Society president.
Key's inspiration? An American flag, which stood at Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812.
His lyrics became our national anthem.
The flag has been housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
"We have two authentic pieces of that moment in 1812 when the 'The Star-Spangled Banner' was born," Kummerow said. "There are iconic figures, and this is a big deal."
The pairing is a once-in-a-lifetime event. The manuscript rarely leaves its glass case. But in recent years, it has been taken to the state capital in Annapolis, Fort McHenry and the Frederick, Md., cemetery where Francis Scott Key is buried.
It's meant to be emotional and reflective -- two historic pieces finally together.
There are also talks to take the manuscript on tour, to places like Mount Vernon and Independence Hall.
The flag and manuscript will be displayed together at the Smithsonian from June
14 through July 6.