Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region have been important centers of trade, commerce, and government for centuries. The British Invasion of Maryland of 1813 and the Chesapeake Campaign of 1814 during the nation’s second war for independence were a result of that strategic importance.
Marylanders have exhibited extraordinary courage, even when faced with overwhelming odds, in defense of our freedoms. The War of 1812 and the actions of Marylanders during the war have had lasting effects on the nation, including the test of the young democracy and its diverse population of slaves and freemen, the formation of a national identity, a commitment to a strong national military defense, and a new international political framework.
Maryland saw more military action during the War of 1812 than any other state, losing many Marylanders’ lives. Her unique contributions to the defense and heritage of the nation include the pivotal clash that ensured American victory, an iconic flag, and our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. After the burning of Washington, the ownership of our country was up for grabs, specifically by the British and British rule. It was Maryland troops and civilians that thwarted that seize, defending the country and saving our nation.
As such, Governor Martin O’Malley issued an Executive Order on September 8, 2007 to create the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. The Commission is planning a multi-year cultural tourism and educational initiative to commemorate Maryland’s unique contributions to the defense and heritage of the nation.
The mission will ensure all Marylanders have the opportunity to participate and benefit from bicentennial activities, have engaging opportunities to learn, and that Maryland is recognized as the most important portal to understanding the significance and relevance of the events of the War of 1812. There will be a series of events throughout the 32-month celebration period, which kicks off on Flag Day, June 14, 2012.
For more information on Maryland’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration, visit its official website www.starspangled200.org.