On our recent trip to Baltimore, Koben and I took an early morning bike ride from the Inner Harbor down to Fort McHenry. This was the event that I thought would be the most memorable from this weekend birthday celebration for our National Anthem. This was a more quaint ceremony than the air show or concert and fireworks from the previous day. Those were big public events with shuttle service getting all of the people from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry and back. There was no driving to the Fort. The roads were blocked and only the shuttle, walking or biking would get you there. This Sunday morning however, there was not shuttle. The only options were bike or walk, although, I do suspect that mass transit was an option. (I’m still not sure how all of the old people got there. They were not walking or biking.)
We packed the bikes as an option for transportation, but did not feel the need to use them yet. The shuttle service was pretty fast and the shuttle stop was a block from the hotel. Even after the fireworks Saturday night, the shuttle was a pretty efficient means by which to get back to the Harbor.
On this morning, I was up by 6:30 am and setup my bike with the jogger attached to the back. It was early and a little cold. I figured that there was no way Koben would want to ride on his own. He would much rather ride in the jogger while I do all of the work. It wasn’t much work at all, just a couple of miles from the Harbor to the Fort. We were one of the first bikers there. We locked up the bike / jogger and walked the rest of the way to the Fort.
There were not many people there this morning and much of the Fort that was closed on Saturday, was now open. So, Koben and I got some additional touring of the buildings, bastions and ramparts. We were there early enough to see the various military units march in and line up. We got to say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing all four verses of the National Anthem.
The feeling here was unlike any other and not able to be put into words. Standing in this Fort, 200 years to the day, 200 years to the minute of the flag raising after the defense of Fort McHenry and that long battle, was simply amazing. From the time that the morning gun was fired to when the garrison flag was raised was mere seconds, but the memory will last a lifetime. Watching the hand made Star Spangled Banner fly high above Fort McHenry that morning while the band played the song that it inspired was powerful and moving. Making this memory with Koben is what makes it all complete.