Sumner to sing the national anthem

Community will celebrate 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner

Staff writerJune 4, 2014 

The small town of Sumner plans to make a huge historical impact on Flag Day, June 14, when it will invite people from the area to come to Heritage Park and sing the national anthem starting at 1 p.m. as part of the nationwide “Raise It Up!” event.

This historic event celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner and the national anthem it inspired, as written by Francis Scott Key as he watched the “broad stripes and bright stars” of the large American flag raised above Baltimore’s Fort McHenry on Sept. 14, 1814 — celebrating a significant victory by U.S. forces over the British during the War of 1812.

“Sumner is perfect for this opportunity,” said Carmen Palmer, spokesperson for the city of Sumner. “We very much represent small town America with our classic Main Street. The people in Sumner enjoy being part of a small town but also part of a larger region and nation around us. Even though were a small town, it excites us to be part of something so large.”

“Raise It Up!” is a nationwide celebration organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The 30-foot by 40-foot garrison flag, famously known as the Star-Spangled Banner, is displayed for public viewing at the National Museum of American History.

Palmer said a friend of hers works at the museum and in recent years, the two have talked about how to make connections between Sumner and the museum. Palmer said her friend asked if Sumner would be interested in being part of the national celebration.

“We will decorate the gazebo (at Heritage Park in downtown Sumner),” Palmer said. “Pierce County TV will be filming us. We will send the footage back to the Smithsonian. They will compile footage of people singing.”

The Smithsonian plans to compile the footage of people nationwide singing in order to possibly break the world record for the largest online video of people singing the same song.

Palmer said the city is encouraging anyone interested to attend.

“No talent is necessary, and enthusiasm is the only requirement,” she said.

Palmer said she would like people to start checking in at noon at Heritage Park. Singing will begin promptly at 1 p.m. Large groups such as church choirs, scout groups, or theater companies are also encouraged to come.

“Hopefully, this is a good opportunity for people who don’t live in Sumner to come visit us,” Palmer added.

Palmer said the hope is that after singing the national anthem, people will walk Main Street and get a slice of rhubarb pie at diners like Berryland Cafe, the Buttered Biscuit or Sabrina’s Lunch in a Box.

The gazebo will be decorated with red, white and blue bunting. A new flag will be raised at Heritage Park to mark the occasion. Palmer said visitors are encouraged to wear read, white and blue and bring flags to wave during the singing.

Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow said this is an opportunity for people to learn more about America’s heritage and “be excited about how great a country this is.”

“We’re part of a larger community and this country,” Enslow said. “I’m delighted to be part of this.”

Other participants in the nationwide event include The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Maryland Historical Society, National Museum of the United States Navy, Dumbarton House and the National Park Service.

if you go

Check-in at Heritage Park, 914 Kincaid Ave., is at noon on June 14. Singing will begin at 1 p.m. If larger groups are wanting to be part of this event, they’re asked to let the city of Sumner know by emailing Carmen Palmer at

Andrew Fickes: 253-552-7001 andrew.fickes Twitter: @herald_andrew

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