Reporting Alex DeMetrick
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Sometimes, historical places are all wet. But an important one in Baltimore’s harbor was marked anyway as the state kicks off the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
Alex DeMetrick reports this historical marker ties right into Maryland’s Star-Spangled Sailabration.
One of the Coast Guard’s jobs in the Chesapeake Bay is setting navigation buoys. And every June, the one painted in stars and stripes is set.
“This is purely a ceremonial buoy that marks an important spot for American history. It is not used for navigation at all,” CPO Andrew Pierce of the U.S. Coast Guard said.
That history is Francis Scott Key’s writing of the Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812. He witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry where the Key Bridge now stands. And the buoy is placed at:
“The approximate spot where Francis Scott Key wrote those words. His visual snapshot of what occurred for the 25-hour period,” Tim Ertel, a U.S. park ranger, said.
The Coast Guard has been marking this historical spot since 1972. Every year, there’s a small ceremony as the buoy is set.
Tom Petkavitch was a young coast guardsman that first year, and has photos, memories and an invitation to come along this time.
“It’s an honor. It’s an honor to be here,” he said. “I mean, it’s been 40 years to the day just about when we put this buoy out. So it’s like a milestone.”
The bicentennial of the War of 1812 makes this tradition something special. It marks on water, the place an eyewitness once watched a critical piece of American history unfold, and where it still flies unfurled 200 years later.
The buoy marking the Star-Spangled Banner will remain in place until fall when it will be removed and placed into storage until next June.