Salute Old Glory, honor our heroes, thrill to fireworks

Events mark Defenders' Day and Patriot Day


September 08, 2005|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

In honor of our country's heroes, a "Star-Spangled Banner Weekend" of patriotic events will take place around the city tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

The events, celebrating Defenders' Day and Patriot Day, include parades, music from military bands, fireworks, a memorial service and living-history demonstrations by more than 100 re-enactors engaging in a ship-to-shore bombardment, at Fort McHenry, the Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum and the Harborplace Amphitheatre.

Defenders' Day marks the defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812 and the writing of the national anthem by Francis Scott Key in 1814. Patriot Day recognizes the heroes of 9/11.

Want to join in or watch the patriotic celebrations and tributes? Here is a listing of some of the events around the area:

Follow the Flag to the Fort Parade and Grand Ceremony. The weekend events begin with a parade at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum, 844 E. Pratt St. Re-enactment soldiers, along with Mayor Martin O'Malley, will pick up a 30-foot-by-42-foot flag from a Mary Pickersgill re-enactor at the Flag House, then parade to the Harborplace Amphitheatre.

At 6 p.m., a flag presentation, a fife and drum concert, greetings from local dignitaries and a discussion on Defenders' Day will take place at the Harborplace Amphitheatre. Afterward, the re-enactors will carry the flag by boat to Locust Point, where they will then continue the parade to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. The parade is free. Admission to the Flag House is $6; $5 for seniors and military; $4 for children. Call 877-BALTIMORE or 410-837-1793.

Fort McHenry comes alive. The celebration continues from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, 2400 E. Fort Ave., with a huge military encampment, drills, musket firings, artillery demonstrations, fife and drum music, cooking demonstrations and more. Visitors can watch the raising of a 30-foot-by-42-foot replica of the Star-Spangled Banner. And there will be discussions, demonstrations and other activities for all ages, including a reading by children's book author Amy Winstead (The Star-Spangled Banner), and a talk by journalist and author Anthony Pitch on the events that led to the writing of the national anthem.

The Fort McHenry events continue from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday with a flag-raising, music, demonstrations and a reading by Winstead. Discussions on the role of religion, the contributions of African-Americans and the role of citizen soldier during the war are planned.

Admission to Fort McHenry is $5; free for ages under 17. Call 410-962-4290.

Defenders' Day Weekend at the Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum. See living-history characters, enjoy hands-on children's activities, tours and more, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Flag House and Star-Spangled Banner Museum, 844 E. Pratt St. Admission $6; $5 for seniors and military; $4 for children. Call 410-837-1793.

Ship tours. Climb aboard the Constellation at Pier 1; the Taney at Pier 5; the Torsk at Pier 3; and the light ship Chesapeake at Pier 3 for behind-the-scenes tours, living-history presentations and hands-on activities for kids, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Inner Harbor. Ship tours range in price from $3.50 to $7.50. Free for ages 5 and younger. Call 410-539-1797 for information on the Constellation or 410-396-3453 for information on the other ships.

Defenders' Day Ship-to-Shore Bombardment and Grand Fireworks. A program with city officials and state dignitaries will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at Fort McHenry. The program includes musket-firing tactical demonstrations and a patriotic concert by the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus.

At dusk, visitors can watch a ship-to-shore bombardment re-enactment with cannon firings and pyrotechnic "bombs" firing over the fort. The evening concludes with a singing of the national anthem and 30-minute fireworks show. Visitors are encouraged to take lawn chairs, blankets, coolers and picnics. All packages are subject to inspection. The celebration is free. Call 410-962-4290.

Heritage Walk. Take a guided walking tour of downtown Baltimore, from the Inner Harbor to Little Italy to Jonestown, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Baltimore Visitors Center, 401 Light St. Buy one ticket, get one free. Tickets are $5-$7.50. This weekend, many of the attractions along the Heritage Walk will be offering admission discounts and activities for visitors. The walk runs daily through Nov. 6, but is not normally discounted. Call 877-BALTIMORE or visit

For more family events, see Page 33.

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