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How the Fort McHenry Guard brings history to life

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This year is the 40th anniversary of the Fort McHenry Guard, the cohort of volunteers and Park Rangers who bring history alive at the fort, by channeling the stories of soldiers, sailors, workers and others. (Credit: Tim Ervin Photography)

As inspiring as the story of the Star-Spangled Banner is-- 25 hours of British bombardment failing to ravage the Stars-n-Stripes!--it’s not the only memorable tale from Fort McHenry. Four decades ago, park ranger Scott Sheads thought much of the fort’s story was not coming alive for visitors. So, with others, he started the Fort McHenry Guard, of rangers and volunteers, to tell of the people behind the history.

And we meet Kordell Kemp, who started playing in the Guard’s fife-and-drum corps when he was 11!

Fort McHenry will be bursting with activities next weekend to celebrate Defenders Day. There’s a parade next Friday night along Fort Avenue at 7 p.m. A week from tomorrow, at noon, the Guard’s Fife and Drum Corps will perform. Other military bands will perform throughout the weekend. That Saturday night, Sept. 10, there will be concert with a ship-to-shore bombardment at dusk … and when it’s dark -- fireworks!

Check out the guard on Facebook.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.