BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The bicentennial of the War of 1812 could be a profitable anniversary for Baltimore.

Alex DeMetrick reports plans were unveiled Thursday for a celebration that will stretch over two years.

A salute from the Pride of Baltimore. U.S. sailors manning the rail on this country’s ships, and the majestic masts and spars of a tall ship from Norway, kicked-off the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

“The War of 1812 began as a maritime war,” explained Vince Vaise of the U.S. Park Service. “Would Americans defend their newfound independence? What does it mean to be an American? Would Americans defend their own citizens?”

The war that stretched into 1814 will be celebrated with a bicentennial stretching over the next two years, with a variety of historical re-enactments, fireworks and concerts. But the centerpiece will be the largest ship gathering since the U.S. bicentennial in 1976.

“Welcoming these tall ships and naval vessels from around the world is a continuation of our history here in Baltimore,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

Large gatherings of tall ships has a way of gathering large crowds.

“Will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to our state,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said.

And all those visitors will have to stay somewhere. Baltimore business is ready to accommodate.

“It’s a plus for us in the hospitality business because we need the revenue to come in,” David Goodwin, an employee of the Marriott Inner Harbor, said.

“It’s great because people come to the city,” John Lee, an employee of the Hilton Baltimore, said. “They eat. They stay in hotels. You know, they spend money.”

While remembering the flag that survived and gave a nation its anthem.

The bicentennial begins in Baltimore on June 13 with a Star-Spangled Sail-abration.


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