Pride of Baltimore II, ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ replica to help mark Maryland Day

The Pride of Baltimore II and a replica of the flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner” will be the focus of Maryland Day celebrations in Baltimore and Annapolis on March 25, according to the Maryland Historical Society.

First, the flag, hand-stitched by volunteers last year to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812, will be blessed in Baltimore front of a statue of Cecilius Calvert.

A procession will later carry the flag from the Pride of Baltimore II at Annapolis City Dock to the State House, where it will be unfurled in a ceremony that will also include Gov. Martin O’Malley presenting 200 “Star-Spangled” grants to organizations across the state. Tuesday afternoon, tours will be available and a keynote speech will be given on the meaning of Maryland Day.

The holiday marks the 380th anniversary of the March 25, 1634, landing of European settlers in what was then the Province of Maryland.

The events will begin next Tuesday at 10 a.m., at the Calvert statue in front of Baltimore City Circuit Court on St. Paul Street. The procession through Annapolis is scheduled for 12:15 p.m., with the ceremony on the State House steps at 12:30 p.m.

Tours of the Pride of Baltimore II will be free from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Annapolis City Dock, with flag talks given by National Park Service staff. Former state archivist Edward Papenfuse will give remarks on Maryland Day at 5 p.m.

A busy two days for the flag replica will start Monday with a special trip aboard the Pride as it makes a trip from Fort McHenry to Annapolis. The flag will then be shuttled to Baltimore for the blessing Tuesday and back to Annapolis for the festivities.

The celebration is the second time the replica of the Star-Spangled Banner will be on public display. The first time was at Fort McHenry last year on Defenders Day, Sept. 12, a holiday marking Baltimore’s victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The 200th anniversary of that victory is Sept. 12, 2014.

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