Baltimore Bicentennial of the War Most Americans Forgot

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BALTIMORE, Md (USA Today)-  If your knowledge of the War of 1812 is sketchy at best – it’s not called “the Rodney Dangerfield of American wars” for nothing, after all – here’s a chance to bone up on the conflict while catching a few breezes (and cracking a few crabs).

Launched in New Orleans in April before moving to New York City and Norfolk, Operation Sail‘s flotilla of more than 40 tall ships and naval vessels arrives in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Wednesday for a week’s stay.

Additional tall ship events are slated for Boston (June 30-July 5) and New London, Conn. (July 6-8), but Baltimore and Maryland are at the forefront of the commemoration for a good reason, organizers told the Baltimore Sun:

The United States, angered at Great Britain’s aggression on the high seas, declared war on what was then the most powerful nation in the world on June 18, 1812. The British sent some 4,000 troops up the Chesapeake Bay in 1814. They burned several towns, the White House and most of the public buildings in Washington and were determined to sack Baltimore. They landed at North Point and were met by a band of militiamen, who killed their general. A fierce battle ensued in the harbor at Fort McHenry, and the Americans emerged victorious, inspiring (Francis Scott Key’s) immortal tribute to the flag that continued to fly.

Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Sailabration runs through June 19 with free ship tours, waterside festivities, an air show featuring the Blue Angels, and the world premiere of Overture for 2012, composed by Philip Glass.

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