BALTIMORE- The Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin set the historic “Francis Scott Key” buoy near the Key Bridge during a ceremony today.
The buoy marks the spot where the ship carrying Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star Spangled Banner, was anchored during the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. Each year the buoy is set in the spring marking the location of the event and then removed in the fall.
A small ceremony was held on the Rankin where the history of the Star Spangled banner was told, the anthem was played and the Fort McHenry Guard issued a gun salute.
“With our friends from the park service, we go through a memorial service to honor Francis Scott Key,” said Lt. Wayne Wallace, commanding officer of the James Rankin.
In attendance was members from the National Park Service from Ft. McHenry, Navy League of the United States, Dundalk Patapsco Neck National Historical Society, Flaghouse Museum in Baltimore, Todd’s Inheritance Historic Site, Coast Guard Academy Parents Assoc., French Embassy, Helen Bentley, former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the great-great-great-great-grandson of Francis Scott Key, F. Key Kidder.
The first buoy was put in the harbor in 1914 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the writing of our nation’s anthem. However, the buoy did not become seasonal until 1972 when the Coast Guard Cutter White Pine placed it where it now goes every year.
The buoy painted as the American flag is the only one of its kind. It is taken out of the water after boating season to protect it from ice damage and to be refurbished for the next year.
“If your out on your boat this summer and you happen to come by the Francis Scott Key Bridge, take a look at the buoy because its the only one,” said Wallace.