Md. Gov. O’Malley Touts ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Bicentennial Celebrations

“In Baltimore, we have been doing homeland security since 1814,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley of the defense of that city by Fort McHenry against the British Navy 200 years ago this summer.

Speaking at the National Press Club May 13, O’Malley was on hand to announce the State of Maryland’s celebration of the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Battle of Baltimore with events at Fort McHenry, towns along the Chesapeake Bay and the Star-Spangled Spectacular in Baltimore, Sept. 10 to Sept. 16.

During the War of 1812, when the United States declared war on Great Britain, it was an uncertain time. O’Malley said that Americans ask today, “Have we ever been so divided?” He replied: “Yes, we have.”

That national fear and uncertainty and, then, astonishment at America’s reversal of fortune at Fort McHenry’s victory was expressed perfectly by Washingtonian lawyer and Georgetowner Francis Scott Key, who was sent on a rescue mission by President James Madison. Key penned what would become our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“The story of Baltimore, the War of 1812 and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ especially speaks to these times,” O’Malley said.

As Americans, we were “finding our way” and faced threats to free trade and travel, said O’Malley, who sees in the threads of the Star-Spangled Banner flag “the threads of human dignity.”

“The people of Baltimore believed in each other” then, O’Malley said. “We are all in this together.”

To kick off the big history lesson, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will put the original manuscript of the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key on exhibit next to the original Star-Spangled Banner which flew over Fort McHenry on Sept. 14, 1814. This union is a historic first.

Besides “the best fireworks display in Baltimore since 1814,” as organizers say, what else is in store? Here is a list of summer 2014 events, as provided by Star-Spangled 200, Inc.:

— June 14 through July 6: union of original 15-star, 15-stripe flag (the Star-Spangled Banner) with the National Anthem manuscript at the National Museum of American History

— June 6 through Sept. 8: Chesapeake Campaign Festivals

— June 6 to 8: Raiders and Invaders Weekend (Leonardtown)

— June 21 to 22: Battle of St. Leonard Creek (St. Leonard)

— Aug. 23 to 24: Battle of Bladensburg (Bladensburg)

— Aug. 30 to 31: Battle of Caulk’s Field (Fairlee)

— Aug. 30 to 31: United States Capital for a Day (Brookeville)

— Sept. 6-8: Battle of North Point Commemoration (Baltimore County)

— Sept. 9: Young Defenders’ Day at Fort McHenry (Living American Flag)

— Sept. 10 to 16: Star-Spangled Spectacular (Baltimore)

— Sept. 10: Star-Spangled Festival begins (through September 15) Tall ships and gray hulls arrive

— Sept. 11: Public ship tours Blue Angels’ practice

200th March of the Defenders

9/11 Flag Commemorative Event at Fort McHenry

–Sept. 12: Defender’s Day Observance

Public ship tours

Blue Angels’ practice

— Sept. 13: Public ship tours

Star-Spangled Spectacular Aircraft Display & Festival (Martin State Airport)

Star-Spangled Spectacular Air Show featuring the Blue Angels

Evening Ceremony at Ft. McHenry and Star-Spangled Spectacular concert and live television broadcast
Spectacular Fireworks

— Sept. 14: “By Dawn’s Early Light” Flag Raising at Ft. McHenry Star-Spangled Spectacular Aircraft Display and Festival (Martin State
Airport) Public Ship Tours

Star-Spangled Spectacular Air Show, featuring the Blue Angels

— Sept. 15: Public ship tours

Star-Spangled 200 Legacy Day

— Sept. 16: Parade of Ships departure

Useful links for Star-Spangled Banner celebrations:

Fort McHenry:

Star-Spangled 200 events:

Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission:

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail:

Visit Baltimore:

Maryland Historical Society:

Maryland Office of Tourism:

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