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Maryland students create largest living Star-Spangled Banner flag

 Star-Spangled Banner Living HistoryWOver 6,600 students, teachers and chaperones created the largest 15 stars and 15 stripes Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag ever assembled today at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

The enormous undertaking was a cooperative effort between the National Park Service and the Friends of Fort McHenry as part of the 200th anniversary celebration of The Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. The event was webcast live on YouTube, and students from around the country participated in the festivities via a live distance learning event. The distance learning program will be available for on-demand viewing at www.starspangledbannerlivingflag.org


The morning started with a star-spangled education program that included interviews with historic personalities, a special “Wheel of Fortress” trivia game, special films, music and more. Afterward, they began the nearly 90-minute task of forming the living flag, which was completed at noon.

“It was breathtaking to witness these students and their teachers become part of history of Fort McHenry while learning about two of our nation’s greatest symbols of freedom and democracy – the American flag and the National Anthem,” said Tina Cappetta, superintendent of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

The Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag was a legacy from the centennial celebration, when Fort McHenry saw the creation of the great “Human Flag of 1914.” Today’s event included Myrtle Sanders, who was part of the 1914 flag as a three-month-old infant, as well as several descendants of participants from 1914.

Living flag by the Numbers

  • Number of participants registered: 6,609
  • Grades of the students participating: 4th through 8th grades
  • Number of schools participating: 56 schools from across Maryland
  • Number of buses providing transportation: 133
  • Number of schools walking: 2
  • Number of schools traveling via water taxi: 1
  • Size of completed flag: 50,384 sq ft (188 feet x 268 feet)

Fort McHenry’s Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag is one of a weeklong series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of our National Anthem. Star Spangled Spectacular, a free festival sponsored by Star-Spangled 200, Inc. and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission is hosting a variety of bicentennial activities at other venues throughout Baltimore, including, the Inner Harbor, Martin State Airport and Pier Six Pavilion. For more information on events see our story on the Star-Spangled Spactacular events this weekend.

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