• Living Flag

    Fort McHenry

    National Monument and Historic Shrine Maryland

2008 Special Events

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Date: January 31, 2008

Civil War Days at Fort McHenry
“Battle Cry of Freedom!”
Saturday, April 19, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
What did it mean to live in “The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” in 1861? Explore various ideas of freedom by attending a special Civil War weekend at Fort McHenry. Find out why people were arrested for singing “Maryland My Maryland,” and how Union soldiers imposed martial law in Baltimore City and County. See the large Union encampment at Fort McHenry! Activities include a morning dress parade, cannon firing demonstrations, Confederate prisoners, and ongoing fife and drum music. A highlight of the weekend is the Saturday night candlelight tours from 6:30-9 p.m.

Living American Flag
Tuesday, May 20, 10 a.m. - 12 noon
An event sponsored by The American Flag Foundation, Inc. to foster understanding of the flag as a symbol of national unity. Each year since 1984, up to 4,000 third, fourth and fifth graders from Maryland schools create a 130’ x 230’ Living American Flag. Participants are limited to schools registered with The American Flag Foundation, Inc. (www.americanflagfoundation.org).


Memorial Day
Monday, May 26, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Join the National Park Service for a day-long program of Memorial Day observances. Events include: wreath-layings; flag demonstration involving veterans at noon; services at Mount Auburn, Baltimore’s oldest African-American cemetery, (12:30 p.m.); observance of the National Moment of Silence (3:00 p.m. in the Star Fort); historic Memorial Day speeches; and special programs about the history of Memorial Day.


Fort McHenry Guard - Defenders Return to the Fort
Summer Weekends – Beginning May 24, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Experience the daily life of the War of 1812 soldier, sailor and citizen through presentations by the Fort McHenry Guard. Dressed in replica clothing of the early Nineteenth Century, the Guard conducts drills, barracks activities, artillery and musket firing demonstrations, civilian activities, and children’s programs.


Flag Day – Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance
Saturday, June 14, 6:30 p.m.
An event sponsored by The American Flag Foundation, Inc. to foster patriotism. This annual event encourages citizens all over the United States to pause at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) and say the Pledge of Allegiance. A concert of patriotic music and fireworks follows.


Juneteenth! – A celebration of Freedom
Saturday, June 21, 3 p.m.
What better place to commemorate the oldest celebration of freedom and the ending of slavery than Fort McHenry? It was on June 19th when Union soldiers, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were free. Although beginning in Texas, Juneteenth spread nationwide. Today the holiday celebrates African-American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures. Activities at Fort McHenry include: a salute to Black Living Legends, Civil War reenactors, speeches, special presentations by local historians, and public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.


Twilight Tattoo Ceremony and Concert
U.S. Navy
Sunday, June 29, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Join us for the first tattoo of the season! Each program is a blend of historical tradition, pageantry and music. See the precision drill of the U.S. Navy Drill Team, hear the stirring patriotic music of the Navy Band and enjoy a special "living history" experience with the Fort McHenry Guard. Uniformed as the 1814 defenders of Baltimore, the Guard will demonstrate a cannon drill and a special cutlass drill. Program concludes with a "hands-on" folding of the 30 x 42-foot Star-Spangled Banner flag.


“The Glorious Fourth!...an Old-Fashioned Fourth of July!"                          
Friday, July 4, 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
July 4th was the most important holiday in early America. Many regarded the War of 1812 as “America’s Second War of Independence.” Join the garrison of Fort McHenry and patriotic citizens of Baltimore for the following activities: fife and drum music, cannon firing, a musket salute for 18 states, period dancing and games. Highlight of the event will be the public reading of the Declaration of Independence at 3:00 p.m.Twilight Tattoo

Twilight Tattoo Ceremony and Concert
U.S. Air Force
Saturday, August 2, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The United States Air Force will perform at Fort McHenry! The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team travels America and the world to inspire Air Force awareness among military and civilian audiences alike. The team personifies teamwork, professionalism and discipline of every Airman through precision drill maneuvers and representation. Over 40 years the team has visited all 50 states and many foreign countries.
The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team will be joined by three fife and drum corps: Liberty Hall and the 119th New York will portray the field music of the American Civil War; while the fifes and drums of the Fort McHenry Guard will showcase music of the War of 1812. Their stirring music will make this a most memorable ceremony.                                      

Defenders’ Day – The Star-Spangled Banner Weekend!!
Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 12, 13 & 14
Join us for Fort McHenry’s flagship event! This three-day encampment and extravaganza is celebrated with over 100 War of 1812 reenactors, parades, military bands, fireworks, a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment and much more!
The Star-Spangled Banner Weekend honors Defenders’ Day, Baltimore’s oldest holiday commemorating the bombardment of Fort McHenry and the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner!” Events begin with a Friday evening ceremonial procession of War of 1812 “soldiers” from the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House to the Inner Harbor, followed by a ceremony at the amphitheater. After the ceremony the reenactors will board sailing boats and return with the 30’x42’ replica flag to Fort McHenry. Saturday and Sunday, activities include children’s programs, historic boats, military encampments/demonstrations and a “privateer’s auction” of “captured goods.” Saturday evening’s program, beginning at 6:00 p.m., features a concert, a musket firing tactical demonstration with volunteer reenactors from all over the country (narrated), a symbolic ship-to-shore bombardment and evening fireworks show.

Fort McHenry honors Veterans with Special Displays and Living History Presentation!
Saturday & Sunday, November 8&9
The National Park Service at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine invites visitors to reflect on the sacrifices made by veterans by attending a special historical presentation on November 8 & 9, 2008. The program will run from noon until 4 p.m. both days.
During the afternoon living history volunteers dressed as soldiers from the War of 1812 through World War II will be on hand to talk to visitors about the history of the fort and its changing role through time. Visitors will see War of 1812 soldiers, a Civil War prison, explore the fort’s use as a World War I hospital and learn to identify enemy aircraft from World War II. Rare artifacts such as a WWI gas mask, wind up Victrola and photographs from the Second World War will be on display. 
Veterans’ Day activities on November 11 include a wreath-laying at 11:00 a.m. and talks on the origins of Veterans’ Day.

Flag Change Programs occur twice daily all year. These are presented at: 9:30 a.m. and 4:20 p.m., weather permitting. Help a ranger raise/lower a reproduction of the Star-Spangled Banner flag. Call for more details.

Extended Summer Hours: June 7-September 1, 2008
Park: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. 
Star Fort: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Visitor Center: 8 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Last Video Presentation - 4 p.m.


Did You Know?

The honorary colonel reviews the troops.

Each Fort McHenry Tattoo honors a distinguished person from the area, bestowing upon that individual the title "Honorary Colonel of the Fort McHenry Guard."