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.
September 13, 2014 marks the bicentennial of the penning of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812's Battle of Baltimore. In honor of this momentous occasion, Maryland Public Television and Great Performances will present the "Star-Spangled Spectacular."
This two-hour live broadcast will open with an exploration of the historical significance of the American flag as a symbol of unity and an examination of the original, unabridged version of our national anthem.
The historical examination will give way to a review of iconic renditions of our national anthem, including Jimi Hendrix's instrumental version; Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game; and Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl. This will lead into the live concert portion of the program which will include America-themed songs by performers from varied backgrounds and styles (actual talent TBD).
Our celebrations will culminate at historic Fort McHenry where President Barack Obama and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will pay tribute to those whose courage and preparedness saved our country and inspired our national anthem. Francis Scott Key's anthem will begin at the fort and build at Harbor Point as our stars gather on stage. Choirs, bands, and color guards from America's armed forces surround our audience while fireworks light up the night sky over the Inner Harbor.
Francis Scott Key, the composer of America's national anthem, is an individual who possesses an instantly recognizable name but a little-known personal story.
This dramatized bio-film will follow the story of Key's life, from a meeting with his childhood-hero George Washington at fifteen to the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, when he wrote the poem that would become the Star-Spangled Banner.
MPT has produced 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.
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.