By Brandi Bottalico, The Baltimore Sun
7:23 PM EDT, March 24, 2014
The Pride of Baltimore II took its first sail of the season Monday, as it traveled to Annapolis carrying a replica of the flag that inspired the national anthem.
The flag has been displayed publicly only once since it was created by Maryland Historical Society volunteers last summer to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. On Tuesday it will play an integral role in the state's observation of Maryland Day, which celebrates the arrival of European colonists in Maryland in 1634.
Historical society spokeswoman Laura Rodini said the 30-by-42-foot flag left the Inner Harbor on Monday for the approximately five-hour sail to Annapolis. On the way, the ship stopped at locations in Baltimore, including Fort McHenry for a small procession and cannon salute.
This year Maryland Day, marks the beginning of events to commemorate the writing during the War of 1812 of what would become the country's national anthem.
The original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key is at the National Museum of American History in Washington. But the replica, created last year with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers, adds new depth to the observations in Baltimore and Maryland, Rodini said.
The Maryland Day celebration in Annapolis is expected to go off despite a forecast that includes rain and snow.
The flag will be shuttled back to Baltimore for a blessing in front of the statue of Cecilius Calvert in front of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, then returned to Annapolis for a special procession.
"Cold weather did not stop our defenders from doing their job back in 1814, so it won't stop us," Rodini said.
A 20-person guard dressed in War of 1812-era uniforms will carry the flag from the Annapolis City Dock to the State House rotunda, where the flag will then be unfurled at 12:30 p.m.
Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance contributed to this article.
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