Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Maryland

Fort McHenry is located in Baltimore, Maryland and is one of the most distinguishable national monuments due to its unique shape. The Fort McHenry is shaped in the form of a star and played a major role in the War of 1812. During the war of 1812, British ships bombed the fort for 25 hours straight before ceasing their attack in frustration. It is estimated that more than a 1000 Americans selflessly defended Fort McHenry and it was their strength that saved America from defeat. The determination of the soldiers and the stability of Fort McHenry helped to successfully defend the city of Baltimore from being demolished by the British navy. The fort never suffered further attacks after the battle but did remain an active military post off and on for a hundred years. It wasn't until 1925, that the fort was made a national park. It was placed on the National Register of Historic places until 1966.

One of the most prominent features of the fort is the role that the fort played in producing the national anthem of the United States. Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star-Spangled Banner, a poem that would eventually transform into the song that embodies the spirit of America. The Fort is now owned and operated by the U.S. Government's National Park System.

In 1939, Fort McHenry was designated as a national monument and historic shrine. It is the only historic place in the United States to have a double-designation. The war of 1812, the historic architecture of the unique building, and birth of the national anthem has made Fort McHenry one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the country. Local Baltimore residents flock to the area, using it as a vital center of recreation. It is estimated that thousands of people attend the monument each year. A Visitor Center located on the premises of the Fort gives visitors the chance to get acclimated to the history by viewing a short orientation film called the "The Defense of Fort McHenry." The Visitor Center also offers additional services such as talks, and detailed walking tours of the fort. American patriots frequent Fort McHenry in order to pay tribute and respects to their fallen countrymen and nation.

One of the most interesting things that occurs at the Fort are the historical re-enactments that take place by a group called the Fort McHenry Guard. The guard is a group of patriotic volunteers that dress up in period-costumes and perform a full re-enactment of the Battle that took place in Baltimore. Many of the volunteers of the Fort McHenry Guard are history buffs and retirees who are anxious to do the reenactment every September during Defenders Day.

A celebration called Defenders Day is held at the fort every year. The event commemorates the soldiers who lost their lives at the Battle of Baltimore, and is the biggest event held at the Fort. The event includes a myriad of programs, activities, and a final fireworks display as a finale.

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