The Associated Press

Naval Ships Highlight Boston’s Maritime Heritage

BOSTON — Thousands of sailors aboard at least 18 naval ships from around the world are gathering in Boston to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner.

The celebrations coincide with this year’s Boston Harborfest, a Fourth of July festival showcasing the city’s maritime and colonial heritage.

The War of 1812 marked the first time that the new United States was threatened on its own soil. The conflict inspired Francis Scott Key to write the first edition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Baltimore, Md.

The fleet of naval ships converging in Boston is part of Operation Sail, or OpSail 2012, and includes sailors and Marines from the United States, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Indonesia, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Canada and England. The vessels bring at least 10,000 extra sailors to the city.

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