Defenders’ Day Celebrations at The Maryland Historical Society and Fort McHenry


Defenders’ Day Celebrations
at The Maryland Historical Society and Fort McHenry


See the Recreated Star-Spangled Banner Flag Fly For the First Time
September 13-15, 2013


BALTIMORE, August 27 -- The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) is recreating the 30 x 42 foot Star-Spangled Banner flag that inspired the writing of our national anthem. Using authentic materials, over 1,000 volunteers have put in countless hours and more than 150,000 stitches to the flag. But the Star-Spangled Banner Project doesn't end with the final stitch. From Friday, September 13-Sunday, September 15, during the Star-Spangled Banner Defenders’ Day Weekend, The Maryland Historical Society will commemorate the completion of the sewing of the flag by taking part in a city-wide celebration, which includes a flag ceremony at MdHS and raising the flag for the first time at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

Flag courtesy Mayors Office
Image courtesy Mayor's Office


Beginning at 1:30 PM on Friday, September 13, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) will speak about the Star-Spangled Banner Project. Local school students will sing the National Anthem as the U.S. Army Old Guard Color Guard will fold the flag for transport to Fort McHenry. Ranger Vince Vaise, Fort McHenry Chief of Interpretation, will speak about the Battle Monument, a stop at which the flag will briefly visit on its way to Fort McHenry.


The complete Public Event schedule on September 13 at The Maryland Historical Society is as follows:


1:30 pm – Welcome by Burt Kummerow
1:35 pm– Ceremonial transfer of flag for the Defenders Day celebrations
1:45 pm– Keynote by Vince Vaise on history and importance of monument and flag
1:55 pm– Singing of Star-Spangled Banner by School and Presentation of the colors
4:00 pm– Star-Spangled Banner Flag visits the Battle Monument. Featuring Fort McHenry Guard fife and drum music.


The celebration continues on Friday, September 13 at Fort McHenry. At 10 am, the newest quarter in the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program for 2013 will be unveiled. It features Fort McHenry and the Star-Spangled Banner and will be available all weekend at the Fort!

Fort McHenry Quarter


Visitors can exchange cash for new Fort McHenry quarters in $10 increments all weekend (while supplies last), courtesy M&T Bank. There is a $10, one roll minimum and $100, 10 roll maximum.


On Saturday, September 14beginning at 9 am at Fort McHenry, there will also be large living history encampment featuring military drills, cooking demonstrations, musket firing, dress parade, cannon firing and a children's program featuring authors and local historians.


At 6pm on Saturday, September 14, the recreated Star-Spangled Banner flag will be transported by the U.S. Army Old Guard with a caisson drawn by seven beautiful horses.


This is the same horse-drawn caisson used at Arlington National Cemetery, and it's one of the rare times it has left the Cemetery grounds.


The U.S. Army Drill Team will showcase a precision drill followed by a cannon-firing "battle" demonstrating the tactics used to defend Baltimore back in 1814. There will also be a patriotic concert by the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus performing the "1812 Overture", complete with cannon fire.


And, as the sun sets, a symbolic ship-to-shore "bombardment" will commence, with pyrotechnic "bombs bursting in air" over the Fort and cannon thunder replies. The flag will be ceremoniously raised over the fort, to the singing of the National Anthem.


A 30-minute large fireworks display will provide the capstone to the evening.



What Is Defenders' Day?


Defenders' Day is Baltimore's oldest holiday. It honors the successful defense of the city from British attack and the writing of the National Anthem in 1814..


This year we will celebrate Defenders' Day on the weekend of September 13-September 15. We are partnering with Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, the United States Mint, and the U.S. Army to put together a truly unforgettable weekend.


The completed flag will be flown at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine during the Star-Spangled Banner Defenders’ Day Weekend on September 14, 2013. The flag will also be used for school programs and other public events in the Bicentennial year of the writing of the national anthem and the defense of the city of Baltimore.


For more details see our website:




Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., General admission to the Maryland Historical Society is $9 for adults, $7 seniors, $6 for students and children ages 3-18 and free for children under 3. For more information, visit


About The Maryland Historical Society

Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine." Visit


The Maryland Historical Society is deeply grateful to the many funders who have made this project possible, including the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, Star Spangled Banner 200 Inc., The Star-Spangled Banner Trail, and F.W. Haxel & Co.


For more information, contact Marketing Director Laura Rodini at 410-685-3750 Ext. 322 or


About Fort McHenry


September 13 – 14, 1814, the valiant defense of the star-shaped Fort McHenry against the might of the British navy inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The 15 broad stripes and 15 bright stars still fly over the Fort twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The Fort was used continuously in a variety of ways through WWII. Most famous as the birthplace of our National Anthem, many special activities are planned at the Fort from now through 2014 to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. For a complete list of Defenders' Day activities,