More than 200 years ago, Fort McHenry survived a 25-hour bombardment from the British navy and inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” (which did not officially become the U.S. national anthem until 1931). The flag flying the night of September 13, 1814 measured 42 x 30 feet! It is no wonder he was stirred while watching “the rockets’ red glare” from aboard a U.S. truce ship under British guard floating in the Chesapeake Bay outside Baltimore, Maryland. The Congreve rocket was a new type of weapon at the time, and, luckily for the Americans, very inaccurate.
Museum, film, fort, twice daily flag changes
Fort McHenry went on to serve as a temporary prison during the Civil War, when its many cannons were pointed towards the city of Baltimore so Confederate sympathizers would not secede from the Union. During World War I, the fort served as a veterans’ hospital before being designated a National Park Service (NPS) unit in 1925. Later it was re-designated Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, the only park with this unique distinction.
Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is not a hiking trail so much as it is a collection of sites related to the War of 1812 in and around the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River.
Our flag is still there. This is officially the only NPS unit where the U.S. flag flies 24 hours a day. Daily flag changes take place at 9:30 a.m. and 4:20 p.m., weather permitting.
$15 per person or America the Beautiful pass
All roads paved to the designated NPS parking lot.
Patapsco Valley State Park is located west of Baltimore, Maryland.
Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument (District of Columbia)
Hampton National Historic Site (Maryland)
Fort Washington Park (Maryland)
Explore More – When a new state is added to the union, the newly redesigned flag is first flown over Fort McHenry, so when did that last occur?
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