Saturday, September 14, 2013

MDDF Supports Defenders Day Festivities at Fort McHenry

By MAJ (MDDF) Stephen Rice
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
13 September 2013

The Maryland Defense Force will support the Star Spangled Banner Weekend Defenders’ Day commemoration on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. 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.

During the festivities on Saturday, a procession of the U.S. Army Old Guard will include a horse drawn caisson that will carry an exact replica of the famous Star-Spangled Banner Flag. This replica was hand stitched by volunteers at the Maryland Historical Society using authentic materials like those that were used on the original flag which is displayed in the Smithsonian. The flag will be ceremonially raised over the fort and the U.S. Army Drill Team will then provide a drill and ceremony performance. A cannon firing demonstration will also illustrate some of the tactics used to defend Baltimore during the planned British invasion. This will be followed by a performance of the U.S. Army Field Band and fireworks.

A Maryland Defense Force task force under the command of Col. (MDDF) George Rich will provide logistical and medical assistance to the National Park Service during this special event. “This event is very important for us because the modern day Maryland Militia is represented by the Maryland National Guard and the Maryland Defense Force,” explained Col. (MDDF) Rich. He also shared that, “It is important for Marylanders to know that two-hundred years later, we are still ready, willing and able to serve in a time of need.”

The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer military unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 450 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: