The company of a British warship have formed up and spelled out a special message for their American colleagues ahead of arriving into Baltimore.
Royal Navy frigate, HMS Argyll, will shortly come alongside in the US city just as the Star Spangled Spectacular – a commemorative event marking the 200th anniversary of the US National Anthem – gets underway.
So to mark the occasion the crew of Argyll, dressed in red, white and blue, lined up on her flight deck to form the letters “SSS” – short for Star Spangled Spectacular.
By participating in celebrations, HMS Argyll will commemorate almost two centuries of peace that started the modern relationship between the UK and USA.
The national anthem of the United States, the Star-Spangled Banner, was first written as a poem by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
It was onboard a British warship, during the battle, that Key wrote Defence of Fort McHenry which was subsequently set to music and became the National Anthem in 1931.
HMS Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Hammond, said: “I’m delighted to bring HMS Argyll to Baltimore for this special commemorative event that marks the anniversary of the US National Anthem. I’ve spent a considerable period of time working with the US military as have many of my sailors and so it’s most fitting that the UK supports its most valued partner in marking this significant moment in their history. We are all looking forward to events as they unfold in coming days.”
Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Spectacular will feature more than 35 naval vessels and tall ships from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Norway and Turkey.
As Argyll enters the harbour (Wednesday, 10 Sept) there will be a ceremonial salute between the Plymouth-based frigate and Fort McHenry whose bombardment two centuries ago are reflected in the words of the anthem.
Then over the next seven days there will be a series of firework displays, concerts, re-enactments, air shows and ship visits.
As for Argyll, she has spent much of the summer working hand-in-hand with US forces on counter-drugs patrols in the Caribbean, notably seizing £25m ($41m US) of drugs and arrested five suspected smugglers.
The ship will remain in the Caribbean until December 2014, resuming her counter-narcotic operations as well as responding to calls for assistance in the wake of any natural disasters as the hurricane season is now upon the region.