April 3, 2016

O Say Can You See? My Visit to Fort McHenry


Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key, The Star Spangled Banner.
It was great to visit the place where these three came together!

The aerial photo above shows the pentagonal, star-shaped Fort McHenry,
built between 1799 and 1802 to safeguard the city of Baltimore, Maryland.
It was named for James McHenry, U.S. Secretary of War at the time.

First stop: the Visitor Center for its informative 10 minute film.
We've found that when touring any historic site, the film is essential 
to understanding the big picture before taking in the grounds.

It was during the War of 1812 that the British, after taking Washington,
sailed into Baltimore Harbor and unsuccessfully attempted to capture Baltimore.

Francis Scott Key was a lawyer aboard a ship in the harbor;
he had arranged the release of a prominent physician who'd been taken prisoner.
As he watched the battle, he was moved to pen a poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry."
Later renamed "The Star Spangled Banner," it became
the United States' National Anthem in 1931.

Here are some of the photos I took while exploring Fort McHenry.
I encourage you to make a visit to this historic landmark
part of your next trip to Baltimore!

The flag that flew over Fort McHenry had 15 stars and 15 stripes.
Along with the original 13 colonies, Vermont and Kentucky were represented.

On the day of my visit, high winds prevented a replica of the original flag
from being flown, so a smaller one was flying.

The flag that Francis Scott Key was elated to see flying the morning
after the Battle of Baltimore measured a proud 30 x 42 feet!
The photo below, courtesy of the Fort McHenry Facebook page,
gives us a good idea of how large that actually is!


The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 

Washington D.C. is the present home of the original flag.

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Here's the Fort McHenry
 website and Facebook page.

Another of my posts:
To the Top of Baltimore's World Trade Center

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