Community takes part in nationwide event singing Star Spangled Banner

On Saturday, the Waynesville-St. Robert community will gather in Tiger Stadium to sing the National Anthem as a part of a nationwide event called "Raise It Up! Anthem for America."

But for one Waynesville woman, singing the poetic and patriotic verses of the Star Spangled Banner carries a deeper meaning.

Brenda Sands has a family connection to the 200-year-old Francis Scott Key poem that was originally named “By the Dawn's Early Light,” and eventually turned into a song.

“My husband's grandpa's grandpa was the first to set the type of the Star Spangled Banner,” Sands said.

Sands said that her husband passed away last year, but it is important to her that his family's history is not forgotten.

Brenda said her husband's family is very proud of their ancestor, Samuel Sands for being a part of a historical moment.

Brenda said that in 1814, a 14-year-old boy named Samuel Sands, who was working in a printing shop, was given a hand-written poem about bombs bursting, rockets glaring, and an American flag that remained flying in the midst of a bombardment.

Samuel Sands didn't know how to set type, Brenda shared. But he loved poetry and was inspired by the patriotic ballads he held in his hands, so he begged to set the type for this poem in order for it to be printed in the paper's next edition. He worked all night to set the type by hand and raced with the daylight to do so.

That poem was published the next day, according to the story Brenda shared.

"I think it is amazing that a 14-year-old kid decides to stay up at night and who knows what would have happened if he didn't?” Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce president Mike Dunbar said. “ It could have been lost. They were at war, after all."

Nearly 200 years later, that poem written by Francis Scott Key and turned into a song can be heard from coast to coast, in celebration of our great nation.

Raise It Up! Anthem for America" is a nationwide celebration for the bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner on Flag Day, June 14, 2014.

The Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce invites every citizen in Pulaski County to join them at the Waynesville High School Football Stadium on Flag Day, June 14 at 9 a.m. to proudly sing our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

The Pulaski County will raise their voices to join in on the celebration with the objective to be part of the National Museum of American History's goal of setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest collective National Anthem performance in history.