The United States is often referred to as a “melting pot,” an intricate tapestry of unique and different peoples, races, orientations, religions, and histories that form one expansive and diverse country. The same description can also be applied to the great state of Maryland as a microcosm of the country in which it resides.
Located in the mid-Atlantic region, Maryland’s geographical position between the South, the eastern ranges of the Midwest, and the bustling city centers of the East Coast make it a bit of a hodge podge of American life east of the Mississippi.
This point is not to say that Maryland doesn’t have its own identity. Indeed, Maryland may be one of the more singular states in the Union precisely because of this confluence of various walks of American life that meet and mix within its borders.
From its distinctive native dialect to its vital importance in the history of the founding and growth of the U.S., Maryland’s place in the American story is not one to be dismissed or forgotten.
Thankfully, many of these stories can be explored further in its three National Monuments. Visitors today can stop in and learn more about what makes the “Old Line State” so special:
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine: One of the most famous sites in early American history can be found in the “Free State” of Maryland, inspiring the very music that accompanies the U.S. The valiant defense of the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry on Sept. 13–14, 1814, inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the famous words that would become America’s national anthem. As the cannons fired and the assault by the British threatened to bring down the famous fort, Key wrote the memorable lines that would define the early American struggle for independence and survival in her developing years as a nation. The fort has a storied history from the early revolutionary days through the Civil War and is a must-visit for history lovers.
Photo Courtesy NPS
National Fallen Firefighters Memorial: This memorial, located in Emmitsburg, MD, is a somber testament to some of the bravest souls who walked through daily American life. The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was built in 1981 and is a seven-foot-tall stone monument of the Maltese Cross, the traditional symbol of the firefighter service. The monument contains a plaque with a message by President Ronald Reagan. It memorializes the bravery of the men and women who lost their lives in the service of their fellow citizens, past, present, and future. The memorial also offers exhibits to learn more about the fire service and its history. It’s truly a can’t-miss site for all Americans to visit and pay their respects to those selfless and courageous people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow man.
Photo Courtesy Firehero
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park: Often referred to as the “Moses of Maryland,” Harriet Tubman’s story of survival and heroism in the face of the unimaginable hate and peril of her time is one of the most famous American tales. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park offers visitors from around the world a chance to learn even more about her incredible life and work. Tubman is the most well-known of the “conductors” of the Underground Railroad, a system of smuggling enslaved Black people from the American South to the northern states to freedom before the Civil War. Tubman herself was responsible for saving the lives of 70 enslaved people and guiding them to new lives of freedom. Hers is a story of deep faith and perseverance, bravery, and stubborn will to do what was right. This historical park is a fitting testament to her amazing life and work!
Photo Courtesy NPS