I posted a blog Nov. 16 to complain about the lack of federal plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, an important but overlooked conflict.
The “War of 1812 Bicentennial Plans Fall Flat” got a nice pick-up from StarSpangled200.org, which is Maryland’s official bicentennial site.
My worries are now allayed with news that the U.S. Navy, in partnership with OpSail, is going to pay tribute to the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner, which was written by Francis Scott Key during the bombing of Fort McHenry during the battle of Baltimore.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, on June 22, announced the twelve port private/public partnership beginning next year and running through 2015. It was news that I totally missed. [A tip of the cap goes to the Navy’s PA shop for bringing the War of 1812 commemoration to my attention.]
There will be week-long events including parades of tall ships, warships, air shows, athletic competitions, public visitation of vessels in New London, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Annapolis, Norfolk, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago. Conferences and seminars are slated to discuss the War and its outcome.
The Navy has invited 120 countries to send combat ships and national academy sail training tall ships to participate in the fun. It also plans to run shipboard “Our Flag Was Still There” exhibits in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and San Diego.
Compared to the Revolutionary War and Civil War, the War of 1812 gets little play in history books. The War of 1812 spurred America’s sense of nationhood, triggered the growth of manufacturing and helped the U.S. gain international respect for taking on the mighty British Empire for the second time. It showed the developing America was here to stay.
The Navy and OpSail teamed for the spectacular 1976 bicentennial of U.S. independence. I can still remember the sight of the tall ships sailing under the Verrazano Bridge. Thousands lined the Brooklyn waterfront for the show.
I will be waiting for the tall ships when they visit New York Harbor next September.