Let bygones be bygones as Maryland celebrates the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Baltimore played a "Key" role while defending its port from the British, for in the midst of battle, our national anthem was born.
MPT presents special programming in commemoration of this historic time, including coverage of an international parade of tall ships sailing into the Inner Harbor, a lively "travelogue" of those stirring times, airing of related 1812 programs from PBS, outreach events for the public, and an educators' website.
Experience the glory days of sailing as Maryland Public Television presents The War of 1812. As part of the celebration, the Star-Spangled Sailabration will showcase dozens of magnificent boats – originals and replicas – June 13-19, 2012 in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. From schooners to brigantines and sloops to full-rigged ships, grey hulls and historic ships from international navies will set sail for Maryland for the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812.
Hosted by WBAL's Donna Hamilton, MPT's Jeff Salkin and world-class sailing expert Gary Jobson, Star-Spangled Sailabration brings you a bird's-eye view of these fantastic vessels - with boat and crew profiles, colorful commentary, interviews with naval experts and stories from the War of 1812. Riding on board with the crew, we reveal the adventurous souls that sail these incredible ships. An extra bonus: A hair-raising ride with a Navy Blue Angel pilot!
Related events: For more information about this special week, including a schedule of events, an interactive map, and a list of the ships and their countries of origin that are scheduled to participate, visit starspangled200.com.
Transportation: Using public transportation is recommended as parking will be limited. Options include the Water Taxi, MTA's MARC, the light rail and buses, Amtrak and the Charm City Circulator's free Banner Route, which travels from the Baltimore Visitor Center to Fort McHenry every 10 minutes. For the air shows, the city has scheduled a free shuttle bus to Fort McHenry only from M&T Bank Stadium, where parking will be available for $20. Beginning Thursday, Fort Avenue will be closed at Andre Street and will not reopen until June 18. (Source: The Baltimore Sun).
Video teaser (YouTube):
Airing June 14, 2012 at 8:30pm on MPT
Maryland has big plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Join hosts Jeff Salkin and Gary Jobson for Star-Spangled 200, the celebration of the Bicentennial of The War of 1812 and the penning of the National Anthem.
Hop on board a few of the U.S. Navy, British and Canadian "grey hulls" and tall ships from around the globe, and find out more about the Star-Spangled Air Show featuring the Blue Angels as well as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's world premiere of the Overture for 2012 by renowned Baltimore-born composer Phillip Glass.
The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake: Home of the Brave
Airing June 4, 2012 at 8pm on MPT
It's called "The Forgotten War," but for Marylanders the War of 1812 is anything but forgettable. From British terror on the Chesapeake, to the Battles of Baltimore, North Point and Bladensburg, local heroes like Armistead and Barney, the failed bombardment of Fort McHenry and the Star-Spangled Banner - the War of 1812 was a series of Maryland's most important moments in history.
To capture the stories and aid visitors in their search for War of 1812 sites around the state, Maryland Public Television has created the one-hour film, War on the Chesapeake. This lively travelogue brings the past alive with fascinating war story re-creations, telling the stories of the people and places that mattered most in Maryland's resistance and victory over the invading British.
From the invading navy's isolated base of operations in the center of the southern bay, Tangier Island, to the Battle of Caulk's Field in Kent County on Maryland's Eastern Shore where Captain Peter Parker met his fate, Maryland Public Television's War on the Chesapeake takes viewers to places where exciting history unfolded during those momentous years. Using humorous anecdotes; dramatic re-creations; stunning, newly-commissioned paintings of key battles, moments and heroes; graphics; artifacts; costumed players, and period music, War on the Chesapeake will be the definitive guide to exploring the War of 1812 in Maryland for history buffs and novices alike.
Video teaser (YouTube):
PBS' The War of 1812
Airing June 12, 2012 at 8pm on MPT
Relive the conflict that forged the destiny of a continent.
For two and a half years, Americans fought against the British, Canadian colonists and native nations. Some of the War of 1812's battles and heroes became legendary, yet its blunders and cowards were just as prominent. This film shows how the glories of war become enshrined in history, how failures are quickly forgotten and how inconvenient truths are ignored forever. With stunning re-enactments, evocative animation and the incisive commentary of key experts, The War of 1812 presents the conflict that forged the destiny of a continent.
Additional PBS programs to be announced.
Video teaser (YouTube):
Airing December 19, 2012 at 9pm on MPT-HD and December 21, 2012 at 11pm on MPT2
Anthem tells the story behind Francis Scott Key's creation of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and explores the role of music and patriotism during The War of 1812. Featuring musical performances and interviews with historians and music experts from the United States and Great Britain, Anthem delves into the music, people and events that influenced Key to write what would become the National Anthem of the United States of America.
Francis Scott Key, an individual who possesses an instantly recognizable name but a little-known personal story.
Key's lifetime was dominated by one spectacular deed: the writing of our National Anthem. This program is a tale of our young nation's finding its way after the Revolutionary War, defining its destiny, testing its liberty, and heading into a Civil War.
Lawyer, church deacon, father of 11, counsel to a president, Key enjoyed entrée to the highest powers in government and society. But the liberties he stood for, liberties that we enjoy today, were challenged by those very same powers. Francis Scott Key remains a personification of the post-Revolutionary, antebellum period.
Key experienced unheard-of fame in 1814 from authoring a single song. However, leading up to his writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, he had a very distinguished legal career. At the tender age of 28, he argued a major civil rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Key was a continuing defender of the visions of his childhood heroes, the Founding Fathers, and defender of many of the concepts that are foundations of our legal system - and which some 19th, 20th, and 21st century presidents sought to suspend when they proved inconvenient.
Surprisingly, Key was vehemently opposed to the War of 1812, which he felt was wrongly instigated by American war hawks. He was also opposed to slavery and the treatment of Native Americans.
We think of the National Anthem as asking and answering the question of whether we would be victorious over the British and whether the U.S. would survive its first foreign invasion; thus the anthem has come to be regarded by some as a glorification of the war. But for Key himself, scholars suggest the anthem carries another meaning. As he sat witnessing the enormous force of the British armada pounding Baltimore, he must have been frustrated with his government for putting us at such risk. Analysis of The Defence of Fort McHenry (the original title of the song which became our anthem) reveals that it may have actually been written as a rhetorical, perhaps ironic attempt to ask the questions to which Key would devote his life in search of answers: Can America continue as a land of the free and home of the brave in the face of its own hypocrisies - that is, needless wars, slavery, ill treatment of Native Americans, and routine efforts to suspend civil liberties (free speech, habeas corpus, and others)?
Key's questions in the anthem are as relevant today as in 1814, and understanding the true intent of what Key was trying to do with his song becomes more critical and relevant for 21st century Americans than we may have ever realized.
Video teaser (YouTube):
A profile of Fort McHenry
Artifacts from the War of 1812, including the original written copy of the Star-Spangled Banner
Educators' resource website
In July, MPT launched an extensive educators' website about The War of 1812: The War of 1812: Classroom Resources. This fun and interactive website provides teachers with primary source documents, biographical snapshots, historic images and an interactive map that relates the major events of the war.
Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
The National Park Service has officially launched the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and invites visitors to explore the many sites within the nine regions along the trail.
"The launch of the Star Spangled Banner Trail is a key part of our nation's bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812," said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. "It will provide Marylanders and visitors with a way to access and appreciate the sites engaged in our nation's Second War of Independence. Highlighted by kiosks, wayside signs, and highway markers, the trail will offer a unique combination of land and water-based sites and give visitors a unique understanding of Maryland's role in the war that helped shaped our nation."
"The trail connects the multitude of sites significant to our national heritage," said Bill Pencek, Executive Director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. "The trail is also a vital economic resource, attracting the "touring traveler" who spends more, takes longer trips, and travels with more people than typical visitors to Maryland."
New services and materials to help visitors explore the trail include:
the trail's history and travel pocket guide
interpretive kiosks at 25 trail locations
highway markers on Maryland roads
the trail's Junior Ranger program
new mobile application and website
the Virtual Resource Center for educators
illustrated history and travel guide In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake, a collaboration of the National Park Service, the Maryland Historical Trust, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission
For more information about how to experience the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, please visit www.starspangledtrail.net.