I'd like to tell you a story. Stop me if you've heard this one... actually, you've probably heard this one. But if you're anything like me, probably not since fourth grade.
Let's set the scene.
It's 1814 and the British have just sacked Washington D.C., burning and looting some of the more notable buildings, like the White House. The government and President have fled. The British are gaining momentum with new troops recently sent, the sacking of D.C. and the surrender of Alexandria. The had hoped to have a turning point in the War of 1812 and set there sights on Baltimore, a major commercial port and home to numerous privateers (aka pirates) that were attacking British merchants ships.
The Brits brought land and sea forces to bring down Baltimore. Several thousand troops were deployed to attack by land. They drove Baltimore's defenses back to the major defense line that is now part of Patterson Park. But the Baltimoreans proved to be more difficult to subdue than the British had originally thought. The Brits had also lost their commanding officer to a sharpshooter during one of the initial battles in Baltimore. In order to win, the Brits severely needed artillery support from their fleet waiting out in the bay.
That brings to a prisoner aboard a truce ship on the Patapsco River. Francis Scott Key could only watch as the sun set over the city of Baltimore. The British fleet was bombarding Fort McHenry, the main defense for Baltimore Harbor and famous for it's star shape. The fleet bombed the fort all through the night. At dawn, he looked out to the fort and the American flag was still flying. He was inspired to write a poem, that later became our national anthem. The British gave up, retreated, and it was considered a major turning point in the war.
Oh, yeah... by the way, that flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes. And the stars were all rotated slightly to one side or the other, not like our current stars whose top points all point straight up. This rotation is the "spangled" part.
So, anyway. SS200, aka Star-Spangled 200. This year marks the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. This is a big deal for the City of Baltimore and for the whole country. This week ads for the SS200 started showing up to announce the kick-off dates for the celebration. They're really cool ads, I wonder which agency did those? Actually, the planning has been in the works for awhile. If you've noticed the new MD license plates, you'll see the flag flying over the bricks walls of Ft. McHenry while the bombs burst in the air.
June 13-19, 2012 ~ Sailabration!
It's the big celebration and you should be there. The celebration will include a parade of tall ships and military vessels from around the world- a LOT of tall ships. There will be fireworks. The Blue Angels will be there. Sailboat races in the harbor and lots of other activities. And this is just the start. Come see!