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War Of 1812 Commemorated At Orioles’ Opening Day

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

National Park News

The bicentennial of the War of 1812 received another boost on Friday, April 6th, as Fort McHenry NMHS staff, volunteers of the Fort McHenry guard and rangers presented the colors for the playing of the national anthem as part of opening day ceremonies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

A sellout crowd of over 46,000 people cheered and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” along with tenor Orlando Sands as a Maryland Stadium Authority officials pulled a special switch releasing the giant 30- by 42-foot, 15-star American flag across the backstop of the stadium. 

To highlight 2012 as opening year of the bicentennial, 30 members of the Fort McHenry Guard, donning War of 1812 era uniforms, proudly marched onto the outfield.

Music coordinator Timothy Ertel marched volunteers and staff onto the field to the thunder of fifes and drums, which could be heard throughout the outfield seats.

“Being able to drum on to the field was incredible, the young fifer and drummers involved in the corps got a real charge out of this,” said Ertel, “It really raises the profile of the National Park Service and the War of 1812.”

“America’s anthem and America’s pastime have been linked together since World War I,” said Vince Vaise, the park’s chief of interpretation. “To be able to give a visual link to the Star-Spangled Banner in the city where it was born, on a field that celebrates our national sport, shows a modern relevancy. The anthem is a legacy from the War of 1812. We want people to remember these types of connections between the War of 1812 and their lives even after the bicentennial is over – that’s the real home run for us.”

Ballpark announcers seized the moment and called upon patrons to observe the upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812, and talked about how the Fort McHenry Guard represented both the military units and citizens of Baltimore in 1814. The unique 15-star, 15-stripe Star-Spangled Banner of 1814 now flies continuously over both Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens play, as well as at state and municipal buildings throughout the city.

On the following Saturday, hundreds of out-of-state visitors and Minnesota Twins fans visited the fort. The Baltimore Orioles won their opening day game, 8-2.

Ertel is currently working with the Orioles to set a date for the fifes and drums to perform the national anthem at home plate.


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