FORT MCHENRY, MARYLAND -- In a celebration of history, people from all around the National Capital Region gathered to observe Defenders' Day, Baltimore's oldest holiday, at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, September 13-14.
Defenders' Day commemorates the successful defense of the city of Baltimore from an invading British force during the War of 1812. The attack also inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem in tribute to what he had witnessed; the American flag steadfast, flying over Fort McHenry. When set to music, the poem became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner" and in 1931 was designated as the national anthem of the United States.
During this star-spangled weekend, Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and The United States Army Field Band helped to recreate and celebrate history with their performances. These Soldiers are part of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and serve as guardians of the nation's capital.
Members from the Continental Color Guard, The U.S. Army Field Band's "Six String Soldiers" guitar ensemble, The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, The U.S. Army Drill Team, The U.S. Army Field Band's Concert Band, The Old Guard Presidential Salute Battery, and The U.S. Army Field Band all demonstrated their craft during the holiday celebrations.
The evening concert also included a swearing-in ceremony, inducting the next generation of American Soldiers into the Army. Twenty-five young Americans took the U.S. Army oath of enlistment, administered by Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones IV, commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.
On the historic soil of Fort McHenry, visitors, young and old, joined together to witness the reenactment of history. For over two-centuries, the walls of Fort McHenry have remained steadfast, withstanding numerous battles, and guarding the American flag in war and peace. Today, the National Park Service administers the area which remains a bastion of freedom and democracy for America.