Do you sing in the shower? I do. And I can tell you that I don’t sound anything like Jennifer Hudson at the Superbowl. But maybe you do. Or maybe you have a sister, a neighbor, a classmate, a choir director, or even a football coach who can belt out tunes like nobody’s business.
These are the people we hope will enter to win our national anthem singing contest, which launched yesterday and runs through April 13. The grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to D.C. to sing on Flag Day (June 14) at the National Museum of American History and at a Baltimore Orioles game in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, only a mile from where the giant flag was stitched together in 1813. A pretty fantastic prize, if you ask me!
The museum is sponsoring the contest, along with USA WEEKEND Magazine, to kick off our Star-Spangled Summer celebration. We are honoring the 30-by-34-foot flag that inspired the national anthem and is now displayed in a special environmentally-controlled chamber in the museum. In the exhibition (available in the museum and online), visitors are encouraged to think about the ways Americans have used the Star-Spangled Banner—both the flag and the song—to express diverse ideas of patriotism and national identity.
What does the American flag mean to you? Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the sight of it flying over Fort McHenry after a 25-hour assault by the British that he wrote a song about it. Nearly 200 years later, you’re invited to sing that song your way—and compete for a chance to perform near to the very same flag.
Here’s what you need to do to enter: Record yourself singing the Star-Spangled Banner (just you—no groups). Upload your video to YouTube and add it to our contest group. Finally, don’t forget to spread the word far and wide about your entry. The more people who view your video, the better your chances are for rising to the top of the competition. (See the official rules for details.)
As for me? It’s a good thing I’m not eligible to win. I don’t think my warbling would impress you—and certainly not the judges. Best of luck!
Dana Allen-Greil is the new media project manager at the National Museum of American History.
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