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Old Forge Elementary students proudly hail national anthem

September 13, 2010|By JANET HEIM
  • Marissa Ingram, a fifth-grader at Old Forge Elementary School, along with other students, sings a song Monday during National Anthem Day. The program, held a day before Maryland's primary election, celebrated the Sept. 14 anniversary of Francis Scott Key's writing of the poem that would become the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner."
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

o Slide show

SMITHSBURG -- Students at Old Forge Elementary School dressed in red, white and blue Monday and participated in a National Anthem Day assembly.

The program, held a day before Maryland's primary election, celebrated the Sept. 14 anniversary of Francis Scott Key's writing of the poem that would become the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner."

The assembly was held a day earlier because Washington County Public Schools are closed today due to voting.

Music teacher Melody Wilson prepared a program of songs and presentations by students to celebrate and highlight our country, the national anthem and the voting rights of Americans.

"I think it's important to know the history of the song (the national anthem), especially living in Maryland close to where the song was created," said Wilson, who added that the assembly is becoming a tradition.

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Wilson was referring to Francis Scott Key's poem that was written during the War of 1812, when the bombardment finally stopped at Baltimore's Fort McHenry in 1814.

She admits she loves getting students together to sing and, as long as they like doing it, she'll keep coming up with schoolwide singing opportunities.

Old Forge Elementary School Principal Dana Peake supports the idea.

"Miss Wilson really goes out of her way to make music fun for her students. She really tries to integrate core subjects into her class. It's a wonderful teaching tool," Peake said.

Students filed out to a side parking lot, dressed in a sea of red, white and blue. Each class was given an American flag.

One student reader was chosen from each class, and they shared reading parts explaining the history of "The Star Spangled Banner" and the importance of voting.

Students, parents, friends and family who gathered for the outside assembly sang "The Star Spangled Banner." Students encouraged adults to vote today, with their rendition of "Election Day," a song complete with hand motions.

Fourth-grader Haley Wooster said she liked the assembly because it stressed the importance of voting.

"That it will really help to change ... to let us know it's very important to vote and that it's a big thing," Haley said as she enjoyed a blue ice pop after the assembly.

Kindergartner Samuel Bono said his favorite part of the assembly was singing the election day song. He said he didn't know the history of "The Star Spangled Banner" until he learned about it for the assembly.

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