Press Release

March 8, 2007
Legislation Calls for National Historic Trail and War of 1812 Commission

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and
Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3) today introduced legislation to honor Maryland's unique role in America's history and ensure that the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812 is properly recognized five years from now.

“When Washington D.C. was burning to the ground, the brave people of Maryland took up arms and defended our young nation,” said Sen. Cardin. “The War of 1812 and the defense of Fort McHenry are not only moments of pride for the state of Maryland, but for the entire nation. As the bicentennial approaches, we need to honor and cherish these important landmarks in our nation's history.”

“Marylanders are fortunate to have so many historical attractions in our state and I'm thrilled to work for their preservation and recognition,” said Rep. Sarbanes. “This legislation will also promote continued learning experiences for locals and visitors through education and environmental programs.”

Sen. Cardin and Rep. Sarbanes sponsored two separate pieces of legislation in the Senate and House. The first bill will designate the Star-Spangled Banner Trail as a National Historic Trail in order to officially mark some of the most historic sites from the War of 1812 in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The second bill calls for the establishment of the Star-Spangled Banner and War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission to plan, coordinate and facilitate programs and other efforts to commemorate the historic events associated with the War of 1812.

In 1999, then-Rep. Cardin sponsored legislation directing the National Park Service to conduct a study of the feasibility of designating new routes used by the British and Americans during the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812 as a National Historic Trail. The study was completed in March 2004 and recommended that the proposed Star-Spangled Banner Historic Trail be established by Congress. The study also recommended that Congress establish a War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission to coordinate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Sites along the National Historic Trail would mark some of the most important events of the War of 1812, including battles between the British Navy and the American Chesapeake Flotilla in St. Leonard's Creek in Calvert County; the British landing at Benedict; the Battle of Bladensburg; the burning of the Nation's Capital and White House; and the successful American defense of Fort McHenry, which inspired the poem that became our National Anthem.

The following Senators are co-sponsoring one or both bills:
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD),
Sen. John Warner (R-VA),
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI),
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).

More than a dozen Members of the House of Representatives are co-sponsoring one or both bills, including the following Members of the Maryland Delegation:
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD-5),
Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-MD-1),
Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-MD-4),
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD-7),
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-2), and
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8).