A bill to create a trail commemorating War of 1812 battle sites in Maryland was signed into law yesterday by President Bush.
The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail was approved as part of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, according to a news release from the House Committee on Natural Resources.
The measure also creates a 175-mile "Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area" that includes historic sites such as Gettysburg, Antietam, and Thomas Jefferson's home of Monticello.
The trail will guide visitors to sites of important battles with the British, including Fort McHenry in Baltimore, North Point in Baltimore County and St. Leonard's Creek in Calvert County. The war was fought on land and sea from 1812 to 1815. British soldiers burned much of Washington in 1814, but were driven out of Baltimore a few weeks later.
Francis Scott Key was inspired to write what became "The Star-Spangled Banner" while watching the American flag waving above Fort McHenryduring a night of heavy shelling by the British.
The bill was sponsored by two Maryland Democrats, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Rep. John Sarbanes.
The creation of the trail "extends our story beyond the boundaries of this particular place," said Gay Vietzke, superintendent of Fort McHenry National Park. "It helps us make a connection with all of these other historic places."