By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tuesday is Flag Day. If you plan to celebrate, there’s no better place than Fort McHenry.

Ron Matz reports preparations are underway for fireworks, a parade and a whole lot more at the birthplace of the Star- Spangled Banner.

At Fort McHenry, crowds watched in awe of a new film about the Star-Spangled Banner, a day before the fort’s Flag Day celebration.

“We are so blessed to be here. We need to always remember who fought and gave their lives to preserve what we have today,” said Darla Kelly from  Houston, Texas. “Our glorious opportunities, our doors that are open to us, everyone needs to think about that and tomorrow will be a great day to do it.”

Ranger Vince Vaise says they’ll pause for the pledge to honor America.

“It starts at 6:30 with a concert by Maryland sings. We’re going to have the pause to the pledge. Everyone will pledge allegiance together. Flag Day really commemorates the adoption of the stars and stripes as the official flag of the United States of America,” said Vince Vaise, Fort McHenry Park Ranger and Chief of Interpretation. “It’s kind of like the 4th of July, a civics lesson and a birthday party all rolled into one.”

That civics lesson is about the meaning of the stars and stripes.

Tuesday night’s celebration at Fort McHenry will include a naturalization ceremony. About 30 people will be taking the oath to become U.S. citizens.

“We’re going to have a naturalization ceremony. A lot of people say America’s a country of immigrants, but we don’t always see people being sworn in becoming new Americans. Well, you can see that here on Flag Day, a little after seven o’clock, and, of course, it wouldn’t be Flag Day without a big fireworks display to cap it all off,” said Vaise.

It all happens at the home of the Star-Spangled Banner.

“The Oriole Bird is coming, so you have immigration, baseball, the American flag and the Star-Spangled Banner. It doesn’t get more American than that. Just bring the apple pie and your picnic basket and it’s all free,” said Vaise.

Tuesday night’s Flag Day ceremonies at Fort McHenry begin at 6:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.


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