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Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

Defenders Day at Fort McHenry 09 SEP 2017

A Historic Celebration – Fortified!

 

Fort-McHenry-aerial

 

 

Celebrated annually to commemorate the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, Defenders Day is a Maryland holiday celebrated in 2017 on 12 September in which Fort McHenry played a pivotal role in the success of that battle.  The British with their array of warships in the harbor bombarded the fort repeatedly during the battle.   The soldiers of the fort responded in kind with a steady barrage and the Americans were victorious.


On one of those British ships was an American lawyer, who was aboard on a mission to release some prisoners takenFort McHenry Stars and Stripes by the British.  Unfortunately, or perhaps very fortunately, he was kept aboard the ship when the bombardment commenced.  It lasted through the night and when dawn broke, the “Stars and Stripes” were still flying over the fort.  He was so moved by the sight of his young nation’s flag, that he penned a four-verse poem.

The name of the lawyer?  Francis Scott Key.   The poem that he wrote? Defense of Fort M’Henry It became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner” – the national anthem of the United States of America.

 

 


 

Something Special for 2017

This year’s celebration was held on Saturday,  09  SEP 2017 and included the participation of the US Army Band (TUSAB) – “Pershing’s Own” and the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard” It is the oldest infantry regiment in the US Army with origins back to 1784 – America’s First Regiment!

The Presidential Salute Battery of The Old Guard – 3d Infantry US Army was at Fort McHenry for Defenders Day, the video was captured by COL Jason Garkey, Regimental Commander of America’s Regiment … HOOAH! GUNS RUN LONG!

The Star-Spangled Banner celebrated a centennial in 2016,  for it was in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order making it the national anthem of the United States of America.

 

Here are the words penned by Francis Scott Key:


 

Defense of Fort M’Henry

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner—O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

 

Learn more about Fort McHenry and its history told in historic images.


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Posted 1 month, 1 week ago at 6:43 am.

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Guns Run Long – 4th of July 2012

For the last three years, I have watched and captured the outstanding 50 GUN Salute to the nation on the 4th of July – Independence Day.  It’s an amazing event that has been precisely executed by one of the elite platoons in the US military – The Presidential Salute Battery…

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Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at 12:07 pm.

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The tradition continues –

Earlier this week another small milestone was set in history…

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Posted 7 years, 7 months ago at 12:44 am.

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And the survey said…

The Old Guard on Parade

The Old Guard On Parade

they’re still the best kept secret!

I spent a week on a special mission.   I wanted to find out peoples’ awareness in the Washington DC area.   I asked about the sports teams, and most people knew without any coaching what teams they had for baseball, football, basketball, hockey and more.   I also asked who would defend Washington DC if a disaster struck.

I even showed photos of …

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Posted 7 years, 7 months ago at 8:47 pm.

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PART ONE: TOG on a Mission – 2010

Here’s a more in-depth look at the making and background of the calendar – “The Old Guard on Mission – 2010” – some history and little known facts…

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Posted 7 years, 9 months ago at 5:50 am.

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Мерры Чристмас !

Or for those who cannot read Russian Cyrillic –

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Posted 7 years, 9 months ago at 10:03 pm.

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Mission: ANC

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

For those who have followed me on Facebook, you have seen how from Saturday morning in the frenzy of the snowstorm, I attempted daily to get into Arlington National Cemetery.  The mission was to capture some of the beauty of this hallowed place in the snow…   ANC closed on Saturday, and when I arrived, the barriers were symbolically across Memorial Drive.

I turned around and decided that Sunday morning was probably a better choice and when I returned on Sunday, I found the roadway of Memorial Drive completely clear thanks to the efforts of the National Park Service.  Alas, the gates of ANC were closed and locked …

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Posted 7 years, 10 months ago at 11:36 am.

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10 Miles – 30,000 Runners…

atm-media-badgeAdd a “drop-in” visit from the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team,  A starting send-off by the Presidential Salute Battery from the US Army’s Old Guard combined with weather that was just perfect and one had a combination for a spectacular event –

Hosted by the US Army’s Military District of Washington, the 25th Anniversary running of the US Army Ten Miler was held this weekend with festivities beginning on Friday 02 OCT as the runners headed to the Washington DC Armory to get their credentials and spend some time perusing the array of vendors & exhibitors covering the floor of this DC Landmark.

Several of the runners had run in the first one over two decades ago were on hand to discuss “why they run…”    It was quite special to encounter several people John Michael met over the years who were getting ready for the day on Sunday.

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Posted 8 years ago at 8:46 am.

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Rendering Honors at Arlington National Cemetery

Recently, I spent the day at Arlington National Cemetery and captured the Presidential Salute Battery in action as they rendered honors …

I had another camera with me and decided to turn on it’s video mode. . . combined with a few photos taken before and during mission and it appears below.

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Posted 8 years, 1 month ago at 9:01 am.

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A glorious 4th with the Big Guns of the Old Guard…

GUN SALUTE

GUN SALUTE

It all began on Summerall Field of Fort Myer. Four artillery pieces placed – The “Big Guns of the Old Guard” were ready to celebrate America’s birthday in a big way – The sun shone brightly on Saturday, July 4th reflecting off the highly polished WW II vintage 3” anti-tank guns of the Presidential Salute Battery. The battery looking sharp in their dress blue uniforms stood at the ready as the time approached for the ceremony to begin for a 50 Gun Salute to the United States of America.

Marched into position by the NCOIC, SFC Calvin Flinta, Platoon Sergeant, the Soldiers of the Battery waited as the seconds ticked off. When it was exactly noon, SGT Chris Johnson the Officer in Charge issued the command “Fire!” The first round echoed as the smoke billowed from the barrel and 5 seconds later, the watchman called the second gun to fire. Then every 3 seconds another gun called to fire until all 50 “Salutes to the Nation” were fired.

The crowd watching applauded vigorously as the last echoes of the salutes and smoke drifted off. The Soldiers of this elite unit then marched off and got ready for “part 2” of the day’s celebration. The guns were then packed up and US Park Police escorted the entire caravan down to the US Capitol. Again the four gun battery was placed in position, where later that night, the Guns Platoon provided accompaniment for the Washington Symphony Orchestra.

Marched into position by Platoon Leader – CPT Ronald K. Vinyard, the battery once again stood at the ready waiting for the signal to fire. As the colors of the fireworks were filling the sky over the Washington Monument, the orchestra played the 1812 Overture at the Capitol 4th with the Presidential Salute Battery providing the appropriate gun salutes. The final salute was all four guns firing simultaneously.

Photos by John Michael

Happy Birthday America!
 
 
 
This article also appears
in
the 10 JUL 2009 issue
of
“The Pentagram”
with one of the photographs.
 
 
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Posted 8 years, 3 months ago at 2:37 am.

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