Maryland Commemorates the Bicentennial of the War of 1812

In 2012 we will begin to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the successful defense of Fort McHenry, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became our National Anthem.

The War of 1812 was a seminal moment in our nation’s history and many refer to it as the “second War of Independence.”  When the War began, our fragile experiment in democracy was still in its early stages and the nation found itself under attack from one of the most powerful countries in the world.  Many wondered whether a democracy could hold together through the trials of war.  The War of 1812 proved that it could and set the stage for the spread of democracy around the world.  Right here in Baltimore, the tide of the war was turned in our favor and all Marylanders should all be proud of that history.

Star Spangled Banner Trail

To help celebrate the Bicentennial, I authored a law creating the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. This is a 290 mile trail marking some of the most historic sites from the War of 1812 such as the battles between the British Navy and the American Chesapeake Flotilla in St. Leonard’s Creek in Calvert County; the battle of North Point; and the centerpiece of the trail – the successful defense of Fort McHenry.  The National Park Service is currently finalizing a plan that will determine what the trail will look like in our community.  Once the Park Service releases the draft plan, there will be opportunity for public to comment.  I will work hard to ensure that the Park Service has the resources needed to implement the trail.

Charm City Circulator Star Spangled Route

Last year I worked with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation to secure $1.6 million from the Federal Highway Administration so that the Charm City Circulator can expand to Fort McHenry for Bicentennial Celebrations. This is part of the effort to ensure we have the appropriate resources to honor the rich history of our communities and celebrate the Bicentennial in a meaningful and appropriate way.

Commemorative Coin

The U.S. Mint recently unveiled designs [link] for the Bicentennial Commemorative Coins that will be sold to raise funds for ongoing celebrations. The gold and silver coin designs are emblematic of the War of 1812, particularly the Battle of Baltimore that formed the basis for the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” National Anthem. I was pleased to join with Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger in cosponsoring the legislation to create these coins. They will be a lasting legacy for our commemoration.

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