Bladensburg, Md. – It was the kickoff of a summer full of events commemorating the War of 1812 and the 200th anniversary of the national anthem.
“Two-hundred years ago, Maryland citizens encountered the shock and awe of their time, an unforgiving invader in more raids and battles than any state had to endure,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at the Brandenburg Waterfront Park during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Star-Spangled Banner Historic Trail.
The trail connects Maryland, Virginia and D.C.
“These trails are tangible examples of the National Parks Service’s interest in using parks and trails to connect communities to their own local and natural historic resources,” said NPS Deputy Director Christina Goldfuss.
Brandenburg is the site of one significant loss for American forces in 1814. A British victory here resulted in forces moving into Washington and the burning of many public buildings in the District including the White House.
O’Malley says that loss wasn’t the end of the story.
“Just a few weeks later – in Baltimore – the Star Spangled Banner was born and the British were repulsed,” he said.
“Even though we got our butts kicked, we learned so much about ourselves…it was really a turning point for us as a nation,” said Jim Foster, president of Anacostia Watershed Society.
Rushern Baker, Prince George’s county executive, says the battle in Brandenburg shaped presidents.
“James Madison rode into battle here and one of the people he conferred with was the secretary of state at the time, which was James Monroe,” Baker said.
Foster hopes residents will come out to see the new trails that take you next to the fields where the battle for America’s independence raged on, 200 years ago.
Also unveiled at the ceremony, a 30-foot by 40-foot American flag, that 2,500 people contributed a stitch. It took 50 people to hold the flag. It was made the same way, using the same material as the first American Flag.
The trails also kicks off Maryland’s Star-Spangled summer, which will include many events commemorating the war throughout the state.