“By Dawn’s Early Light” - Fort McHenry Recreates the Morning of September 14, 1814 in Real Time

The Star-Spangled Banner waves over Fort McHenry with the Baltimore Harbor in the background


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News Release Date: September 12, 2014

Contact: Fort McHenry Press, 410-962-4290 ext. 886

BALTIMORE –The signature event of the weeklong Star-Spangled 200th Anniversary will commence "by dawn's early light," promptly Sunday at 8:30 a.m., with a 100-round artillery barrage by the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) signifying the conclusion of the 25-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814. As the gun smoke clears, the 30-by-42 Star-Spangled Banner will be raised over Fort McHenry, unfurling its glorious colors to the city of Baltimore.

The Sunday morning commemorative ceremony will be broadcast live on C-SPAN's American History TV at 8:30am ET.

The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on Sunday, September 14.

The schedule for September 14 is:

8:30 a.m. By Dawn's Early Light Flag-Raising Ceremony
A procession of modern and living history military units, represented by the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment, (The Old Guard) and the Fort McHenry Guard, kicks off this real-time anniversary program. The ceremony will feature special guest, General Colin Powell, artillery salutes, patriotic music, and a reading of the four stanzas of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by individuals with unique ties to the American Flag. At 9:00 a.m., the precise moment that the historic flag was raised, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write "The Defence of Fort McHenry," the full-sized replica 15 stars and 15 stripes Star-Spangled Banner flag will be raised over Fort McHenry.

10 a.m. –4 p.m. - Young Defenders Program in the Historic Star Fort
At these hands on activity stations, young visitors can learn about soldier life at Fort McHenry, and discover how average Baltimoreans contributed to the city's defense from the British. At the "Young Defenders" station, the young and young at heart can drill with wooden muskets, help stitch a flag, engage in cutlass drill, try on a replica historic outfit or write a letter using the same types of quill and ink Francis Scott Key used when he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner."In "Citizens Stand!" learn about flag-making, fashions from 1814, historic cooking and life on the home front.

10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 5:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m. The Key Story
Learn how Maryland attorney and amateur poet Francis Scott Key's poem about the defense of Fort McHenry became our National Anthem. Join a park ranger for this hands-on program about the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Help unroll the 30-by-40 foot full-sized replica Star-Spangled Banner flag at the exact site where it flew in 1814. This program is located on the Chesapeake Bay Map behind the Visitor Center.

11 a.m. –6 p.m. -Fort McHenry Festival Village
The Star-Spangled Spectacular Village will feature a variety of family-friendly entertainment including exhibits, hands-on activities, giveaways, food vendors and a tribute to all types of American music.

2 p.m. –4 p.m.- Star-Spangled Spectacular Air Show
The Star-Spangled Spectacular Air Show will feature precision flight demonstration acts from the U.S. Navy over a one-and-a-half-hour period between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. The featured act will be the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron. NOTE: Time subject to change based on weather conditions.

C-SPAN's American History TV plans to re-air the "By Dawn's Early Light Flag-Raising Ceremony" on Sunday, September 12, at 7pm ET and 11pm ET and on Monday at 7am ET.A ranger-guided tour of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine with Vince Vaise airs Sunday night, September 14, at 6pm ET and 10pm ET and once more Monday morning at 6am ET. More information about C-Span programming is available at c-span.org/history

Park grounds are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Visitor Center is open 7 a.m.to 8 p.m. The Historic Star Fort is open 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

These events are part of Fort McHenry's weeklong series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem. Star Spangled Spectacular, a free festival sponsored by Star-Spangled 200, Inc. and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission is hosting a variety of bicentennial activities at other venues throughout Baltimore, including, the Inner Harbor, Martin State Airport and Pier Six Pavilion. For additional information on these and other events, visit www.starspangled200.com


About Fort McHenry National Monument &Historic Shrine
During the Battle of Baltimore, September 13 –14, 1814, the valiant defense of the star-shaped Fort McHenry against the might of the British navy inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."The 15 broad stripes and 15 bright stars still fly over the fort 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The fort was used continuously in a variety of ways through World War II. Most famous as the birthplace of our National Anthem, many special activities are planned at Fort McHenry National Monument &Historic Shrine in 2014 to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, the United States' second war for independence.www.nps.gov/fomcPhone: 410-962-4290Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FtMcHenryNPS and on Twitter, @FtMcHenryNPS.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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