Time and pollution are slowly destroying the huge red, white and blue flag that inspired “The Star Spangled Banner” back in 1814. Preserving the banner, which hangs in the Museum of American History on the Mall in Washington, D.C., could cost up to $15 million. Unless the flag is taken down and subjected to extended high-tech preservation, it may crumble. Its natural fibers - wool stripes and backing, cotton stars and linen threading - have been severely damaged. The Star Spangled Banner got a light vacuuming in 1982, but nothing like the effort now planned.
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