Defenders' Day

Defenders' Day 2020 will be Virtual!

A park ranger sitting on a bench inside the barracks with is back towards the camera. In front of him are several cameras and lights.
A park ranger being filmed for Virtual Defenders Day 2020.


Known as Baltimore's oldest holiday, Defenders' Day commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of the nation's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." In accordance with CDC guidance, as well as state and local ordinances, 2020's Defenders' Day will not be happening on site. Instead, the National Park Service is teaming up with park partners and sites along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail to bring Defenders' Day to you! This year's program will take place September 11-13, 2020 as well as virtual programs taking place the week leading up to the event.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Park Status: Fort McHenry NM & HS will be open during the week of Defenders' Day with the normal operating hours of 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Fort McHenry's grounds are open to explore but park closures will remain in effect including: the star fort historic zone, park visitor center, and all public restrooms. There will be no in person programing, concerts or fireworks on site. Follow park news releases for a full list of what is open within the park.
  • The week of September 7-11, 2020 will feature a lead up to Defenders Day on Facebook and other social media accounts of both Fort McHenry NM & HS, and the Star-Spangled Banner NHT. Look for posts highlighting items from Fort McHenry's collections and videos with partner sites along the Star-Spangled Banner NHT! All videos will also be available on Fort McHenry's Youtube Channel.
  • Friday, September 11 will feature a special Patriot Day video.
  • Saturday, September 12 will feature videos of park programs happening all day starting at 8:30 am and concluding with a special video from the U.S. Military District of Washington filmed on site, featuring the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and a premier performance of the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus at 8:00 pm.
  • Sunday, September 13 will feature videos of park programs starting at 9:00 am.
  • How you can participate: Watch the park videos on social media and share with your friends! Tag Fort McHenry in posts about your favorite Defenders' Day memories on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Make sure to use the tags: #VirtualDefendersDay #DigitalDefendersDay and #FindYourVirtualPark!
A park ranger uses a phone to film the large garrison flag flying over Fort McHenry.
A ranger films the raising of the Garrison Flag for Virtual Defenders' Day


Schedule of Events

Defenders' Day Week

Monday, September 7:

Tuesday, September 8:

Wednesday, September 9:

Thursday, September 10:

A ranger films another park ranger talking with living historians holding the large garrison flag preparing to raise it over Fort McHenry.
Park rangers film the raising of the Garrison Flag for Virtual Defenders' Day.


Defenders' Day Weekend

Friday, September 11

  • "Patriot Day" A special video will be posted recognizing both the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the casualties of the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. Location: Fort McHenry Facebook
  • "From the Collection: Crumbaker Letter" Location: Fort McHenry Facebook

A group of U.S. Army honor guard soldiers marching as part of filming for Virtual Defenders' Day
The U.S. Army Honor Guard marches inside of Fort McHenry as part of Virtual Defenders' Day filming.


Saturday, September 12

A park ranger films the Fort McHenry Guard performing with drums and fifes next to the Fort McHenry park sign.
A park ranger films the Fort McHenry Fife and Drum Corps performing for Virtual Defenders' Day


Sunday, September 13

Any questions or press inquiries can be directed to Fort McHenry NM & HS's Chief of Interpretation.

Last updated: September 11, 2020

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Mailing Address:

2400 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230


(410) 962-4290 x250

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