This summer, Baltimore is going to host the biggest celebration in its history! And it’s all to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the writing of the National Anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner. Many years ago, when I was on the Board at Fort McHenry, we talked about what would happen this summer, and 2014 seemed like it was light years away. But now it’s here and it’s going to be great! Connor’s already getting into the #starspangledsummer spirit!
Lots of friends are involved in making this summer’s events a success, and I am even playing a very small role in the celebrations. In my real life job (and no, the blog’s not it!), we are hosting a lecture in two weeks to talk about the unknown man behind the National Anthem. Dr. William Beanes, one of the founders of MedChi, the organization where I work, was taken prisoner by the British. Francis Scott Key, who wrote the National Anthem, negotiated for his release, and the two watched the British bomb Baltimore for more than 25 hours.
When the dawn broke, the men could see that the flag was still flying and that the Fort had not fallen to the British. Francis Scott Key penned a poem on the back of an envelope, and later, the words were added to the music of an old drinking song. The American National Anthem is one of a very few anthems that actually tells a historic story.
From Star-Spangled 200:
O Say Can You See! Star-Spangled Spectacular is a free festival that celebrates the 200th anniversary of our national anthem. Tall ships, Navy gray hulls and the Blue Angels will come to Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor to celebrate The Star-Spangled Banner. Landside festivals include living history demonstrations, a family fun-zone, live musical performances, and Chesapeake food and beverage. Events crescendo on September 13 with a star-studded patriotic concert and extraordinary fireworks display over Fort McHenry and the Baltimore harbor.
I am really excited about the next three months of celebrations and am so proud of my friends who have been such an integral part of these festivities. It’s going to be so much fun! So come and join us in Baltimore and celebrate!