Fraser Valley 5th-graders celebrate writing of Star Spangled Banner |

Fraser Valley 5th-graders celebrate writing of Star Spangled Banner

Fraser Valley Elementary students got a lesson in history Monday afternoon when fifth-graders celebrated the 200th anniversary of the writing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key.

The youngsters were decked out in costumes and performed various historical roles including President James Madison, First Lady Dolly Madison, Dr. William Beanes and of course Key himself. Other students, working as narrators, took turns behind the microphone.

The students recited from memory the story of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner including the attack on Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812 and the burning of the White House in 1814. Other students playing specific parts acted out the scenes behind them. Dolly Madison and White House servants scrambled on stage to save treasures before the White House was burned. Francis Scott Key, Dr. Beanes and Col. John Skinner stared into the foggy distance looking over the crowd for the flag after the battle.

“We do a mini re-enactment of the events surrounding the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner every year on its anniversary,” said Fraser Valley Music Specialist Lori Oury. “I want the kids to know that they are not just singing a bunch of words but are reliving a moment in history.”

A highlight for many students was the re-enactment of the Battle of Fort McHenry. Students watching the assembly were “armed” with white foam squares and were divided into British and American sides.

The lights in the lunchroom dimmed and a fog machine pumped out smoke as the kids flung the foam squares, representing canon shot, across the room to the other side.

As the smoke cleared the students were treated to renditions of the other three verses of the Star Spangled Banner. The assembly closed with the first and most familiar stanza of the anthem.

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