This weekend, Baltimore begins two years of celebrations in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1814, which actually ended in 1814 with the Battle of Baltimore, when “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written.
There are dozens of tall ships in and around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
The Navy’s Blue Angels are here for the weekend and they were doing a bit of practice Thursday. You would hear them screaming by, but by the time you looked at where the sound was coming from, they were long gone. I am going to see them this weekend if it KILLS me. Ya hear?
Our own tall ship, The Pride of Baltimore II, is in the midst of the festivities and you can see her here sailing just off of Fort McHenry where the festivities are centered. This is where the ramparts are from the song.
The weekend before 9/11, I had chartered a skipjack for the day and a dozen or so friends and I went out on it. We sailed out to the buoy where Francis Scott Key allegedly watched Fort McHenry being bombed through the night. As we were sailing, the captain told us that the last time this country had been attacked was during the War of 1812.
It was a gorgeous weekend and the next days were stunning in their clarity, sunshine and blue skies. And then on Tuesday morning, September 11th, it seemed that everything went black.
Ironically, the members of the Board of Directors at Fort McHenry, of which I was one, had been scheduled to go to see the 1814 flag restoration at the Smithsonian on September 12th as guests of our US Senator. Needless to say, it was cancelled.