For the next two years, anyone who loves American history, or who wants to bestow upon their children a remarkable understanding of the sacrifice it took to build and preserve this nation, should look east for vacations.
From the Great Lakes to New England, and especially along the Chesapeake Bay, marvelous events are being planned to salute and celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.
History books will say it was a worthless war, but such things were written by people who measure victory by acreage and gold. To those who study the development of America as a people and as a nation, this war is known as the pulse point of America's rise as "One Nation Under God."
It was during this war that we became a people who saw ourselves as a nation rather than a loose confederation of states. When our capital was burned, our government leaders forced into hiding, when the symbols of our rising democracy--the President's House, the Armory, the Capitol, and the Naval Yard--were destroyed we placed our trust in two new emblems of America that could never be taken away--our people, and a red-white-and blue rectangle of fabric that we had previously paid little mind to, and the song that drove its importance deep into our hearts--the Star Spangled Banner.
Come east and enjoy a re-enactment, a tour around the capital that rose from ashes to become a symbol of freedom the world around. Breathe in the history and let it embed itself in your heart. Here are some places to begin! FROM THE NPS SITE. . .
Representatives from the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail will be present at events throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, in late summer/early fall 2010. Learn more about the Trail at the following events:
Saturday, August 21st - 8th Annual Hancock's Resolution War of 1812 Reenactment; Pasadena, MD Join reenactors from "The Ship's Company" as they commemorate the War of 1812.
Sunday, August 22nd - Chit-Chat Run: The British are coming to Washington; Washington, DC Join the NPS for a three mile run that includes interpretive stops that tell the story of the British burning of Washington.
Sunday, August 22nd - 8th Annual Hancock's Resolution War of 1812 Reenactment; Pasadena, MD Join reenactors from "The Ship's Company" as they commemorate the War of 1812.
Sunday, August 22nd - On This Date in History: The Burning of Washington; Washington, DC Meet at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial for an NPS ranger-led bike tour of the destruction of Washington.
Sunday, August 22nd - Walking Tour to Restore a Patriot's Tombstone; Washington, DC Join Anthony S. Pitch, author of The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814, on a walking tour of the burning of Washington. Registration ($20 cost) is limited and required with Congressional Cemetery.
Saturday, August 28th -August 1814: A Town Occupied - "Johnny Bull" Revisits Alexandria; Alexandria, VA Join in a reenactment of the occupation of Alexandria by His Royal Majesty's naval forces. Free admission to the grounds; museum tour is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12. Scale replica of the Schooner Ship Lion will be out front.
Saturday, August 28th - Dolley at Dumbarton Day! Washington, DC Join Anthony S. Pitch, author of The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814, for a lecture about Dolley Madison. A tour of Dumbarton is optional. Tickets can be purchased through Dumbarton House.
Sunday, September 5th -Defender's Day at North Point, Edgemere, MD Reenactors will bring to life the events of September 12, 1814; living history displays and presentations are also part of the event.
Friday-Sunday, September 10-12th - Defender's Day at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD Fort McHenry's flagship event features reenactors, parades, military bands, fireworks, bombardments, and more!
Saturday, September 18th - The War of 1812 Reenactment and Encampment, St. Leonard, MD Experience a reenactment and activities at the site of Maryland's largest Naval engagement.
The links below provide just a sampling of events occurring at venues throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC as the War of 1812 Bicentennial approaches.
To learn about events at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, click here.
For a schedule of events occurring on the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, DC, click here.
View a calendar of War of 1812-related events throughout Maryland at http://www.starspangled200.org/