(flickr photo by Ash Crowe)
That last holiday of the summer, the one after Labor Day, the one that is really only a Maryland Holiday, and pretty much only celebrated in Baltimore, was a total wash this past weekend thanks to Mother Nature. What is usually a grand celebration of history and Baltimore with fireworks, food, picnics, and cannons was mostly turned into a subdued event due to the rain.
Baltimore area school children were left with running between buildings on Friday morning during the Young Defenders program, to keep out of the steady light rain. The Living Flag program for them was cancelled. A gray Saturday morning turned into another afternoon of mistiness that left Fort McHenry with lower than anticipated attendance.
The fireworks were as grand as usual Friday night, but the crowd seemed much smaller then in the past due to the unpredictable weather. The major change this year from previous was in the setting. The crowd gathered near the statue of Orpheus rather than on the large field near the Inner Harbor, due to the construction of the Park Service's new Visitor Center. Although different this allowed for a great sight, watching the fireworks explode in a brilliant variety of colors and shapes behind the Star Spangled Banner.
Being as this was the 195th Anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, Gov. O'Malley (say what you will about him, but the man loves and knows his history) announced the official beginning of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission that will be the counterpoint of the 200th anniversary beginning in 2012.
Although this Defenders Day was lesser than usual, expect the celebrations to become grander over the next few years as the City and State get closer to the 200th. I wouldn't be surprised if Defenders' Day was reinstituted as a State Holiday.