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HomeFunTravelFrom tall ships to fireworks: Commemorating the War of 1812 in Maryland

From tall ships to fireworks: Commemorating the War of 1812 in Maryland

tallship2By Cheryl Clemens

“O! Say can you see…”

You and your children have sung our National Anthem countless times, but do you really know the story behind Maryland’s role in the War of 1812?

Over the next two and a half years, there will be plenty of opportunities for you and your family to learn more as Maryland celebrates the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 — America’s victory over the British that is often referred to as the country’s second war for independence.

Maryland was the sight of several skirmishes, most notably the Battle of Baltimore, which culminated in American forces successfully defending Fort McHenry—an event that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the lyrics for what is now known as “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“The War of 1812 was instrumental in helping America and Americans find their identity,” said Bill Pencek, executive director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. “It has great meaning to the people of Maryland and the Chesapeake region because even though the war lasted 32 months, the single most dramatic moment took place right here and produced two of our greatest national icons—the American flag and the National Anthem.”

In recognition of this, Maryland will kick off a three-year celebration (the same length as the war) this month that will include battle re-enactments, parades, maritime displays, tours, demonstrations and even fireworks. Many are geared specifically to children and families, so there’s never been a better time to plan for fun and informative history lessons about something that happened in our own backyard.

The fun kicks off with a Star-Spangled Sailabration—six days of events, performances and activities that range from tours of ships from around the world to an air show featuring the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.

The goal is to give residents and visitors a better understanding of these historic battles and the role they played in our country’s independence—with a little modern-day entertainment thrown in.

See what you think would appeal to your family and remember, events stretch into 2014 (see sidebar) so there will be plenty of opportunities and myriad locations to experience the battles and what life was like 200 years ago.

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