Living Flag Makes History at Fort McHenry National Monument

Aerial view of thousands of students creating a living flag on the lawn in front of the historic star fort

Friends of Fort McHenry

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News Release Date: September 9, 2014

Giant Living Flag Created to Honor Bicentennial of The Star-Spangled Banner

BALTIMORE – In a spectacular show of red, white and blue today at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, more than 6,600 Maryland students, teachers and chaperons created the largest 15 stars and 15 stripes Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag ever assembled. 

The enormous undertaking was a cooperative effort between the National Park Service and the Friends of Fort McHenry as part of the 200th anniversary celebration of The Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. The event was webcast live on YouTube, and students from around the country participated in the festivities via a live distance learning event. The distance learning program will be available for on-demand viewing at

The morning started with a star-spangled education program that included interviews with historic personalities, a special “Wheel of Fortress” trivia game, special films, music and more.  Afterward, they began the nearly 90-minute task of forming the living flag, which was completed at12 p.m.

 “It was breathtaking to witness these students and their teachers become part of history of Fort McHenry while learning about two of our nation’s greatest symbols of freedom and democracy – the American flag and the National Anthem,” said Tina Cappetta, superintendent of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. 

The Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag was a legacy from the centennial celebration, when Fort McHenry saw the creation of the great “Human Flag of 1914.” Today’s event included Myrtle Sanders, who was part of the 1914 flag as a three-month-old infant, as well as several descendants of participants from 1914.

By the Numbers
  • Number of participants registered: 6,609
  • Grades of the students participating: 4th through 8th grades
  • Number of schools participating: 56 schools from across Maryland
  • Number of buses providing transportation: 133
  • Number of schools walking: 2
  • Number of schools traveling via water taxi: 1
  • Size of completed flag: 50,384 sq ft (188 feet x 268 feet)
Fort McHenry’s Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag is one of a weeklong series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of our National Anthem. Star Spangled Spectacular, a free festival sponsored by Star-Spangled 200, Inc. and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission is hosting a variety of bicentennial activities at other venues throughout Baltimore, including, the Inner Harbor, Martin State Airport and Pier Six Pavilion. For additional information on these and other events, visit

About Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine
During the Battle of Baltimore, September 13–14, 1814, the valiant defense of the star-shaped Fort McHenry against the might of the British navy inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The 15 broad stripes and 15 bright stars still fly over the fort 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most famous as the birthplace of our National Anthem, the fort was used continuously in a variety of ways through World War II. Follow us on Facebook at on Twitter, @FtMcHenryNPS. 

About Friends of Fort McHenry
The Friends of Fort McHenry serves to support educational programming and living history activities, and the creation of interpretive exhibits and visitor facilities that engender the widest appreciation of the Fort and the enduring legacy of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our National Anthem.  The Friends achieve this mission through generous support from those who value our heritage and the impact that history can have upon our young people. The Friends of Fort McHenry is a program of the Living Classrooms Foundation. Follow us on Facebook at on Twitter, @ftmchenryfriend

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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