Commemorative stamp unveiled Thursday honoring American flag

A year of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner kicked off Thursday with the unveiling of a commemorative stamp.

The newest installment of the popular "forever" stamps — so named because they continue to be valid even if the cost of postage rises — features Old Glory in front of scarlet and white fireworks representing the "rockets' red glare" described in the national anthem.

The stamp was introduced at a ceremony in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, according to a Maryland Historical Society news release.

Other events scheduled for the Star-Spangled Banner bicentennial include an immigration ceremony in June featuring new citizens and fashion designer Ralph Lauren — he is the son of two immigrant parents; a special exhibit that will unite the original flag with Francis Scott Key's manuscript for "The Star-Spangled Banner," from June 14 to July 6; a nation-wide singalong of the anthem on June 14, according to the release; and a party June 15 called "Raise A Glass to History" in which mixologists in 15 cities will create drinks inspired by Key's song.

Also Thursday, Star-Spangled 200 Inc. announced that Fireworks by Grucci had been named to produce a fireworks extravaganza Sept. 13 over Fort McHenry, as part of the Star-Spangled Spectacular celebration marking the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem.

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