With Fort McHenry's huge banner waving behind him, Mayor Martin O'Malley signed an executive order yesterday that called for replacing the modern American flag at city buildings with the 15-star, 15-stripe version that inspired the national anthem in 1814.
"From this day forward, the star-spangled banner will be flown from all city buildings in the greatest city in America," O'Malley said.
The mayor's order is intended to call more attention to the city's military and cultural contribution to the nation in 1814. In September of that year, a local, underdog militia defeated the British Navy in the Battle of Baltimore. In the aftermath of the battle, the flag flying over the fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."
In addition to signing the order, O'Malley announced a preliminary schedule of events for next month's Defenders' Day, which commemorates the battle. Officials said the schedule is subject to change.
Events are to include the premiere of a History Channel documentary about the War of 1812, First Invasion, at the Senator Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8. General seating will be free. There will also be a private reception and fund-raiser at 5:30 for the Patriots of Fort McHenry, which supports the park. Tickets are $50 and include preferred seating for the film.
At 5:30 p.m. Sept. 10, the "1814 Defenders of Baltimore" will parade through Little Italy to the Inner Harbor, where there will be a talk about the battle, as well as fife and drum music.
On Sept. 11, when the fort officially marks Defenders' Day, there will be activities at the fort, at the end of East Fort Avenue; the Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum, 844 E. Pratt St.; and Todd's Inheritance historic site, 9000 North Point Road.
Re-enactors portraying the Maryland militia will be encamped at the fort, while their royal counterparts will be at Todd's Inheritance. Events are to include cannon-firing demonstrations, a children's program and history talk at the fort, and cooking and musket-firing at Todd's Inheritance. The Flag House will offer children's activities, music and museum tours.
On Sept. 12, events at the fort will include a flag-raising and dress parade, cannon- and musket-firing demonstrations, a talk on African-Americans' role in the war and a worship service.