Fort McHenry Honors Lighthizer
By Nancy Jennis Olds
(September 2012 Civil War News)
BALTIMORE, Md. — Crowds gathered, a band played and a cannon fired on the evening of July 14 for a special tattoo ceremony at the Fort McHenry Monument and Historic Shrine.
Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer was named an Honorary Colonel of the Fort McHenry Guard in an elaborate ceremony that recognized his leadership of the Trust, which has saved more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land.
One of Fort McHenry’s highest honors, the title is given to those who distinguished themselves as exemplary citizens. Previous recipients include firefighters who saved victims at the World Trade Center on 9/11, sports figures, political figures and philanthropists.
Although the Fort McHenry Guard is more familiar for its living history interpretation of the War of 1812, the fort and its soldiers were responsible for securing the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland for the Union cause early in the Civil War.
As the war progressed, Fort McHenry served as a training ground for Union soldiers, a prison for Confederate sympathizers and as the Union headquarters.
Lighthizer was county executive of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, for eight years and Secretary of Transportation. He pioneered using federal Transportation Enhancement highway funds to protect thousands of acres of Civil War battlefields in Maryland.