Did you know that Defenders Day is celebrated on September 12th? This holiday commemorates or remembers the successful defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812. At the end of August 1814, the British army had invaded Washington DC, burnt down key buildings such as the White House and Capitol, and started moving north towards Baltimore. The brave actions of Baltimore’s defenders inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem “Defense of Fort McHenry”, which later became the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the national anthem of the United States.
We hope that you find ways to be courageous today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.
In 1814, the White House was known as the “Presidential Mansion”. President James Madison and his government fled Washington DC and temporarily found refuge in Brookeville, Maryland, which is known now as “United States Capital for a Day”.
The occupation of Washington DC lasted barely 26 hours. Less than a day after the invasion, a sudden and fierce storm passed through Washington DC. It is possible it was a hurricane or tornado. The storm lifted and tossed cannons about and killed British troops. The high winds and driving rain also put out the fires. After the storm abated, the British troops returned to their ships to find them heavily damaged. The event is known as the “Storm that saved Washington”.
Early observances of Defenders Day included reenactments of the battles and informal picnics on the battlefield grounds. Later celebrations spread through the city of Baltimore and included parades and speeches.
Some of the reenactments turned out to be more lethal than the original battle. When Septembers were unusually hot, reenactors in their woolen dress uniforms succumbed to heat stroke. Others were killed by very real musket balls fired in the sham battles. In the years leading up to the Civil War, newspapers ran advertisements from merchants stating, “now available – blank ammunition”.
Fort McHenry offers many events commemorating Defenders Day.