Yosemite National Park

Sanctity of national monuments has roots in Independence Day

Sanctity of national monuments has roots in Independence Day

As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s birthday, I am reminded of a recent field trip I took with my daughter’s kindergarten class to Fort McHenry on the Baltimore Harbor. Fort McHenry, now a national monument, brings to life the fight with the British during the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 and is the place that inspired the writing of our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

Growing up hundreds of miles from Fort McHenry I had read of this pivotal battle in classroom texts. I had heard the story of Francis Scott Key witnessing the horrific battle and his inspired lyrics as he watched the large American flag flying triumphantly above the fort the next day. It...

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