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Star Spangled anniversary: Events set for War of 1812 commemoration

Dec. 7, 2011 - 06:01PM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 7, 2011 - 06:01PM  |  
Re-enactors such as these dressed as British soldiers during a September 2007 re-enactment in St. Leonard, Md., will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 next summer.
Re-enactors such as these dressed as British soldiers during a September 2007 re-enactment in St. Leonard, Md., will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 next summer. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
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Click here to find a calendar of events nationwide commemorating the War of 1812 during the bicentennial year.

History buffs will travel to the birthplace of the "Star-Spangled Banner" next summer to commemorate the declaration of the War of 1812 complete with an international maritime festival.

Along">Baltimore's harbor during a naval fleet week, tall ships and gray-hulled ships will represent navies from around the world and an air show will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the U.S.' first declaration of war. Maryland Public Television is producing a travelogue and accompanying coffee table book, and the U.S. Mint will sell gold and silver commemorative coins.

The Navy, which sees the war as central to the development of its culture, is taking a large role in the events.

"So many of our heroes come from the War of 1812," said Capt. Patrick Burns, director of Navy commemorations. After the Revolutionary War, the former colonies lost the protection of the world's greatest navy, he said. With the new nation's commerce at risk, its navy had to step up.

"We had to stand up for ourselves," he said. "It was a small war, but a very significant one."

In preparation for the anniversary, the National Park Service recently completed a $15 million, 17,000-square-foot center at Maryland's Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

Commemorative events have already started and resume in 2012 with a recreation of the Battle of New Orleans set for Jan. 6-8 at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and Chalmette Battlefield.

Events continue beyond next summer with an academic conference on peace in Annapolis, Md., in 2013, re-enactments at battle sites around the Chesapeake Bay and the return of tall ships to Baltimore's harbor in September 2014 to mark the anniversary of the battle memorialized in the national anthem.

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