President Trump and Maryland's Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
The US Flag is Preserved in 2017
About ten days after the 2017 US presidential inauguration, sightings of a presidential flag flown on a convoy of khaki-colored military vehicles were posted around the internet. None of the leaders of the US military branches claimed the vehicles as their own at first. It was thought that these were old vehicles collected by military enthusiasts, but rumors that the convoy belonged to Navy Seals flying the unauthorized flag surfaced (Source: USA Today, February 2, 2017: "Navy: Special forces flew Trump flag in convoy.").
Even though military vehicles flew a flag with the single word TRUMP in white letters on a blue background instead of the US Flag on 01/30/17, the nation's flag is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution and along a 600-mile swath of commemorative trails near our nation's capital.
One of the first Executive Orders President Trump signed was a freeze on federal jobs.This means that when a National Parks Service employee retires or otherwise leaves employment, that the park will be short to staffed. Hopefully, this will not lead to park closures, particularly that of the Star Spangled Banner National Trail.
Just as it is unlikely that additional presidential faces will be added to the mountain at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, it is unlikely that America's flag will be supplanted by the flag of any individual.
The United States is more than one president. It is an amalgam people living here from the time of Native North American Nation settlements to European exploration to the melting pot we remain today in spite of movements to ban immigration.
The national trail dedicated to the flag of the United States salutes Old Glory, the icon of American survival. The trail crosses land and water across 560 miles in the Chesapeake Bay Region of Maryland, tracing the movements of major British attacks on America in the War of 1812 - 1814.
During September 13 - 14, 1814 at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, our national anthem was written to honor the flag.
Even though the war ended in 1814, American military and civilian prisoners were held in the English prison at Dartmoor Depot through 1815. They were freed and the American Flag is an icon of those prisoners as well as the free in the United States.
Symbolism and Meaning of the Flag
During the War of 1812 - 1814, this star-shaped fort in Baltimore became the birthplace of the US national anthem.
The American National Anthem was not written when the New Nation first formed. It was not produced until 36 years later, when the British, determined to regain the Colonies, struck again and failed. The song did not become the US Anthem until 1931, although it was chosen for that duty in 1911.
A US Federal Grant, first envisioned in 2003 and initiated in 2008 for only $100,000, allowed The Star Spangled Banner to join the ranks of The Underground Railroad and The Trail of Tears as important historic entities preserved by the National Park Service.
The grant was for only $100,00 and under 300 miles of trail, but the project expanded.
Where America First Sang the Anthem
Inspiration at the Battle of Baltimore
Attorney Francis Scott Key spent an entire night at Fort McHenry, trying to negotiate the release of an American prisoner from the British forces. Unsuccessful, he spent the night watching the battle, the smoking guns, and the red glare from the ensuing rocket attacks. He was inspired to write a poem that became song lyrics.
Francis Scott Key titled his poem Defense of Ft. McHenry and it became the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner. He had riding on a British ship that was flying a truce flag at the time of England's attack on the American fort and he was briefly an American POW. The sight of Old Glory still flying in the early morning was magnificent.
States Covered by the Trail
The flag's nation trail connects officially registered historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
The history of the United States is displayed all along the trail. Below we see via paintings in the Cox Corridors on Capitol Hill that on August 24, 1814 before the Battle of Baltimore. British troops burned the White House, the Capitol, and almost all other public buildings in Washington.
The Capitol building is shown ablaze in the background. It was fully gutted and only an unexpected rainstorm stopped its complete destruction.
During the burning of Washington, First Lady Dolley Madison saved the original US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and a portrait of George Washington. At Fort McHenry, Old Glory was saved as well. Thus, many of America's icons were preserved.
Just one day before this battle, on August 23, 2014 the British began the Battle of Bladensburg nearby. This was the only battle in American history in which the President (James Madison) and the Secretaries of War, the Navy, and State were all present. A chain of command disaster was averted in their all surviving.
Ragged Old Flag: Johnny Cash
Traveling the Flag's Trail
The trail's commemoration of the flag follows routes through the towns of Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's, and Prince George's counties in Maryland; and then Alexandria VA, Washington DC, and Baltimore MD.
Baltimore Trail Head at Chesapeake Bay
Historic Battle Sites
When visiting the trail, plan on seeing these sites:
- Battle of St. Leonard's Creek
- Battle of Bladensburg
- Raid on Alexandria
- Battle of Baltimore at Ft. McHenry.
Major Cities, Star Spangled Banner Trail
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will be free— From "One Moment in Time", by Albert Hammond and John Bettis
At This Moment in Time
Which Flag do you respect the most?
Famous Musicians and the Anthem from Hendrix to Gaga
© 2017 Patty Inglish MS