While many people know that Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” few know how and where he was inspired to pen these patriotic words of hope and strength. The birthplace of our national anthem is Fort McHenry, a Baltimore base just ten miles from Glen Burnie, MD. Come visit this summer and relive one of our nation’s most significant moments in history.
When you arrive at Fort McHenry, you’ll see a star-shaped fort on the Baltimore Harbor surrounded by a moat. This strategic location played a crucial part in many of the wars we’ve been involved in — from the Revolutionary War to World War II.
Fort McHenry is best known for defending our country during the War of 1812. Over two centuries ago, the army at Fort McHenry heard that the British were coming to attack. They stored up ammunition and other supplies and prepared to defend their country. They also paid Mary Pickersgill to sew a large American flag for the fort.
On September 13, 1812, the British began to attack from the water at 6 a.m. This assault lasted for 25 hours, and both sides launched a continuous arsenal of guns, bombs, rockets, and canyons. Despite all the weaponry that was used, few casualties occurred because the weapons weren’t very accurate.
Francis Scott Key, who was negotiating the release of prisoners on a nearby ship, witnessed the whole gruesome episode. After an entire night of guns and bombs exploding, he woke up the next morning and saw the beautiful flag still flowing proudly in the breeze. Our flag had not fallen, and this sight moved him to pen “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Fort McHenry Today
Throughout history Fort McHenry served in many capacities. It became a military prison during the Civil War and even a U.S. Army hospital during World War I. Make sure to visit and take the self-guided tour to learn more about its intriguing history. If you time it right, you can even hear a Ranger Talk, Flag Talk, or see a living-history reenactment.
Star-Spangled Banner Weekend
To see the fort at its finest, make sure to visit during Star-Spangled Banner Weekend September 13–14. During that weekend you’ll get to experience the following:
- Cannon demonstrations
- Living-history interpreters
- Flag raising
- Dress parade
- Reception with fireworks and fun
Make sure to purchase tickets before you go.
If you flew into Glen Burnie or Fort McHenry from out of town, GBA Car Rentals is here to help. We offer a large selection of affordable van rentals and car rentals to meet your family’s traveling needs. Make a reservation today at www.gbacarrentals.com or contact us at 410-761-5599 with any questions. We look forward to serving you!