Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore has a central role in America’s history as the home of the Star Spangled Banner. Now the flag flying over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore is being recreated.
Pat Warren has more on the project.
Perfect pitch and precision stitch. Those are the elements of the Fourth of July celebration at Fort McHenry.
The recreation of the original 30 x 40 foot Star Spangled Banner is the central theme this year.
“A man looking on these shores was inspired to write those words that unite our country,” the mayor said of Francis Scott Key’s poem written during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. “It makes me proud as a Baltimorean.”
The flag is a project of the Maryland Historical Society, and volunteers–including Cathy Gray of Glen Burnie–are on deadline to get it done in six weeks. The same time it took Mary Pickersgill and four helpers to sew the original Star Spangled Banner in 1813.
“The ones that are flown these days,” Gray explained, “they’re five-pointed stars and they always have the two legs standing like this. Well, the stars on the Star Spangled Banner were actually kind of cantered this way and that is referred to as spangling.”
They’re duplicating the fabric and the stitching Pickersgill employed. Bridget and Alex Van Valkenburgh know the story.
“She owned her own business, but women can’t own their own business back then,” Bridget told WJZ. “So she was a trend-setter.”
“It’s a big piece of history,” Alex added.
The reenactments at Fort McHenry bear that out. Frank Cerrone–from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–toured the fort Thursday.
“I was here last year for Sailabration. It was so fantastic I had to come back again this year,” he said.
The finished flag will fly September 12 on Defenders Day.
The public will be invited to add a stitch to the flag on August 3 and August 11.