City's new slogan would honor national anthem

New motto ties Baltimore to 'Star-Spangled Banner'

September 08, 2014|By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun

Oh, say can you see a new slogan for Baltimore City?

Councilman James B. Kraft can. He petitioned his fellow City Council members to pass a resolution Monday declaring a new official motto for the city: "Baltimore — Birthplace of The Star-Spangled Banner."

The new declaration coincides with the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812, which begins Wednesday.

"Every day someone around this globe is singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner,'" Kraft said, "and that 'Star-Spangled Banner' started here, right in the harbor, right down the street."

Kraft, who represents Southeast Baltimore, said his legislation will set the slogan apart from those of the past, which he said were essentially marketing campaigns, rather than officially authorized catchphrases. The city has been christened with the tag lines "Baltimore: A Great Place to Grow," under Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in 2011, and "Baltimore - Get In On It," by former mayor-turned Gov. Martin O'Malley in 2006.

Other attempts at mottoes include "Charm City," "The City That Reads" and "The Greatest City in America."

Kraft said he was approached by the Anthem Project and Baltimore City Historical Society to try to formally mark the tie between the city and the national anthem. Only 20 percent of Baltimoreans know the link between the city and "The Star-Spangled Banner," Kraft said. That percentage drops across the state and falls further when polling those nationwide.

If Kraft's bill is signed by the mayor, the new slogan would take an official place next to the city flag and her emblem in the code.

He noted that in his research he found deep historical ties between the city and the anthem. Built into Baltimore's police ordinances is a rule that anyone who disrespects the song or doesn't sing it properly can be fined $100.

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

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