Brookeville added to Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail -- Gazette.Net


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The town of Brookeville received another star in its history crown this week, as it was placed on the National Park Service’s Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.

Town officials and residents joined Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Dist. 3) of Towson and members of the District 14 legislative delegation to unveil the sign, installed outside the Brookeville Academy at 5 High St.

The trail honors sites crucial to the War of 1812. It connects historic sites in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and commemorates the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem.

The honor comes as Brookeville plans a two-day bicentennial celebration of its role as U.S. Capital for a Day in August 1814.

Brookeville is the only Montgomery County site included on the trail.

The Quaker community, then Montgomery County’s second-largest town, provided a safe harbor to thousands of refugees, cavalry and President James Madison after the invasion and burning of Washington by British troops.

Sarbanes, who championed legislation creating the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, said the War of 1812 is often referred to as America’s second revolutionary war.

“We had the Revolutionary War that was a declaration we wanted to be free of British rule,” Sarbanes said at the event July 22. “This next war was a statement that we like this experiment in freedom. We’ve tasted it and don’t want to let it go.”

Sandra Heiler, chairwoman of Brookeville’s Bicentennial Commission, told the crowd that when Madison arrived in Brookeville, it was a low point in American history.

“Although the British had invaded and burned Washington, their troops withdrew and Madison and his cabinet were able to return to the city,” she said. “It was a turning point in Madison’s career and also a celebration of the generous spirit of a Quaker community.”

Brookeville’s U.S. Capital for a Day Celebration on Aug. 30-31 features two days of free, family-friendly events, including a historically authentic re-enactment of Madison’s arrival. More information is at www.uscapitalforaday.org.

thogan@gazette.net