A Star Spangled Celebration For A Star Spangled Song

Aug 13, 2014

Navy vocalist Bill Edwards singing the national anthem at yesterday's announcement.
Credit Joel McCord / WYPR

There will be tall ships and gray ships, skipjacks and schooners in Baltimore’s harbor in September for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the national anthem.

There will be concerts and fireworks and a dawn ceremony to commemorate the raising of the flag over Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became our national anthem. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell will take part in the flag raising.

Star Spangled 200, the tourism group that is putting all this together, put on a news conference at the Baltimore Visitors’ Center at the Inner Harbor Tuesday to lay out plans for Star Spangled Spectacular from September 10-16 at the harbor, Fort McHenry, Martin State Airport and other sites.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake called it a “dream come true for all of us that we have this wonderful opportunity to showcase our history.” And she said she is looking forward to “showing it off for the world.”

The tall ships include Pride of Baltimore II;  the U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle, El Galeon Andalucia from Spain and Kalmar Nyckel from Wilmington, Del. The gray hulled ships will come from the u.s, The United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, Germany, Spain and Turkey. They will be docked throughout the harbor and open for tours.

Motown star Smokey Robinson, opera star Denyce Graves-Montgomery and the a capella vocal group Pentatonix will appear at Pier Six pavilion on September 13 in a show that will be broadcast on live  MPT. The Morgan State university choir and the U.S. Marine Band will appear in concert at Fort McHenry.

The U.S. Navy flight team, The Blue Angels are to fly demonstrations on September 13 and 14 and to cap it all off, organizers are planning a fireworks display launched from six barges anchored at different sites in the harbor.

Governor Martin O’Malley said it would be the “rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air echoing once again” throughout the harbor.

For details go to www.starspangled200.com

This story is part of our series “Rockets’ Red Glare: The War, the Song and Their Legacies,” made possible by a grant from Star Spangled 200, a national bicentennial in Maryland.