Defenders Day Festivities at Fort McHenry a Success with MDDF Support
By MAJ (MDDF) Stephen Rice
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
15 September 2013
The Maryland Defense Force’s support was critical to the success of the Defenders’ Day commemoration on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. A Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) task force under the command of Col. (MDDF) George Rich provided logistical and medical assistance to the National Park Service during this special event. “Over 10,000 visitors came to Fort McHenry for the festivities and it would not have run as smoothly without the help and support of the MDDF,” said National Park Service Ranger Amato Mongelluzzo.
This celebration of Defenders’ Day, Baltimore’s oldest holiday honors the successful defense of the city from British attack during the Battle of Baltimore in September of 1814. This historic battle was fought by Maryland Militiamen alongside the U.S. Army who repulsed the planned invasion of Baltimore by British forces during the War of 1812. The heroic efforts of the Maryland Militiamen alongside the U.S. Army at Fort McHenry helped to inspire Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner poem which later became our national anthem.
The Defenders’ Day festivities included the participation of the U.S. Army Old Guard, the U.S. Army Drill Team and the U.S. Army Field Band. Speakers for this special occasion included Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Congressman John Sarbanes. Former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes was also in attendance. Gov. O’Malley even participated in the ceremonies as a War of 1812 re-enactor wearing the uniform of an early 19th century U.S. Army major general and riding atop a black Clydesdale named “Slurpee”.
Col. (MDDF) Rich noted that “The MDDF task force performed superbly and I couldn’t be more proud of their execution of this mission.” “This event was a big success and we are gratified to have been a part of this historic commemoration.”