MAYBERRY — The lights flickered in the Runnymede Elementary School auditorium. The sound of rain and thunder echoed throughout the room as fifth-graders grabbed nearby rain sticks and drums.
Suddenly, plush red, white and blue yarn balls went flying across the front of the stage, marking the beginning of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.
Just days shy of the anniversary of the battle, which inspired Carroll County-born Francis Scott Key to write the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner," and on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, students at Runnymede paid homage to America through a re-enactment on Thursday. Donning red, white and blue outfits or Colonial-style attire, the school's fifth-graders put on a four-scene performance highlighting a portion of the battle that made Maryland famous and birthed the national anthem.
The re-enactment opened with the designing of the star-spangled flag, a federally commissioned 30-by-42-foot banner. The students also re-enacted the American troops stationed at Fort McHenry, Key sailing to meet the British navy to negotiate the release of American doctor William Beanes from his captivity, and the two-day battle.
Nicholas Diehl, 11, who played Key, cracked jokes at the British navy during the negotiation for Beanes.