Senator Paul S. Sarbanes today announced that the full Senate has unanimously approved his legislation that would establish a "Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail," and highlight the historical significance of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia in the early struggles of our young Nation during the War of 1812. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the proposed national historic trail legislation on September 28.
The bill, S. 958, would establish the "Star Spangled Banner Trail," which would be comprised of approximately 175 miles of land and 373 miles of water routes in the States of Maryland and Virginia and the District of Columbia, as a National Historic Trail. The National Historic Trails system commemorates major routes of historic travel and mark major events that have shaped our American history. To date, 16 National Historic Trails have been established including the Lewis and Clark, the Pony Express, Selma to Montgomery, and Trail of Tears National Historic Trails. To be designated as a National Historic Trail, a trail must meet three basic criteria: it must be nationally significant, have a documented route through maps or journals, and provide recreational opportunities.
"With the bi-centennial of the War of 1812 approaching, the Star Spangled Banner Trail would provide tremendous historical and educational benefits in helping to tell the story of how our region was involved in the preservation of our young Nation's freedom," said Sarbanes. "The War of 1812 marked a turning point in the early development of the United States. The designation of the route of the British invasion of Washington and the American defense of Baltimore as a National Historic Trail will serve as a reminder of the importance of the concept of liberty to all who experience the Star-Spangled Banner Trail. I am pleased that we are moving forward to recognize this very critical time in our Nation's history with the development of this National Historic Trail."
The sites along the National Historic Trail would mark some of the most important events of the War of 1812. The trail, commemorating the only combined naval and land attack on the United States, begins with the June 1814 battles between the British Navy and the American Chesapeake Flotilla in St. Leonard's Creek in Calvert County, and ends at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, site of the composition of our National Anthem, and the ultimate defeat of the British.
Congressman Ben Cardin (MD-3) has introduced identical legislation in the House of Representatives.