By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
Back in the 1970’s, we would hear it as television stations signed off for the night. Now we hear it at all sporting events and during the Olympics. It’s possibly the most recognized song in our nation and it’s turning 200 years old this year. The celebration of the National Anthem’s birthday will take place in Baltimore September 14th, but the city will be hosting events from September 10-16.
The Star Spangled Banner was written September 14, 1814 by Maryland lawyer Francis Scott Key. It was written to celebrate Baltimore defending the United States against British advances and now represents patriotism throughout the lives of American citizens everywhere. The entire celebration will be captured on the PBS Great Performance series.
The Star Spangled Banner, as it turns out, is both a flag and a song. Mary Pickersgill made the flag for display at Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812. The house where it was made is now a museum, housing the original receipt for the flag, which, ironically, was made from British fabric. There are many such historical museums in Baltimore.
Known as “Charm City”, Baltimore is home to the B&O Railroad Museum, The Edgar Allen Poe Museum, The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum, and many art museums. Its rich cultural history embraces the music, art, sports and nationalities that make up the country celebrated in the famous song.
On Thursday, September 10th, the Star-Spangled Spectacular will feature more than 30 naval vessels and tall ships from around the world. Ship tours are available for the entire week in both the Inner Harbour and North Locust Point, with a special “Meet the Fleet” event on Friday evening. Inner Harbour will also host a simulation of the McHenry Village that will take visitors back to the time of the war.
The Star-Spangled Spectacular Aircraft Display and Festival will begin on September 13th at Martin State Airport, featuring an air show in the afternoon. A fireworks show will be displayed that evening in anticipation of the actual birthday celebration on Sunday.
On September 14th, there will be a “Dawn’s Early Light” flag raising at the Fort McHenry National Monument, followed by several events, including Crew displays, festivals, and tours. At 5:00 p.m., a concert will be held at the Old St. Paul’s Church. That evening, the grand concert will feature Kristin Chenoweth, Melissa Etheridge, Denyce Graves-Montgomery, Little Big Town, Pentatonix, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The evening will conclude with Baltimore’s largest fireworks display ever and of course, the playing of the National Anthem.