“Young defenders” go to Fort McHenry
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:38

Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke School students got to hold a giant replica of an 1814 American flag. photo by Ben Boehl

Kids from three local schools visit war site

by Ben Boehl

    Young Defenders Day is an annual tradition in which students from local schools get out of the classroom and go to Fort McHenry for the day. This year, Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke school as well as Chesapeake Terrace and Charlesmont elementary schools sent students to the site.
    “The Dundalk-North Point area sent more than 500 students and staff to the event. The field trip is made possible through the generosity of the Friends of Fort McHenry,” said Stansbury resident Patricia Paul, who is on the Baltimore County War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee.
    The trip had students attending different stations at the fort, where they learned about preparing for battle and preparing food. There was also a history lesson about the 1814 U.S. flag, and the students got to analyze the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and defined what each word meant.
    Charlesmont principal Marsha Ayres has been at the school since 1999 and said it is appropriate that Charlesmont got selected to go to Fort McHenry since the school is filled with portraits that include Gen. Robert Ross and Francis Scott Key.
    “Our kids see these pictures every day. [Our school] is in the battlefield,” Ayres said. “Patricia Paul has been instrumental in helping to get our boys and girls to the fort. She scheduled the buses and organized the trip.”
    Fifth grade teacher Kelly Martin said her students enjoyed the loud cannon and learning about life during the early 1800s. Teaching about the War of 1812 in the classroom, she said, can only go so far until the children see the history for itself.
    “We always talked about the Star-Spangled Banner but when we saw that giant flag, we saw how big those stripes are,” Martin said.
    Beth Marlow, a teacher at Our Lady of Hope, said that students in grades 3 to 8 were invited out to Fort McHenry to learn about the War of 1812.
    “It’s vital that they be here,” Marlow said. “If they don’t know about our history, how will they know anything about our country?”