Secretary of the Navy, OpSail Announce Partnership Commemorating War of 1812, "Star Spangled Banner"
June 23, 2011
By MC2 Gina K. Morrissette, Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs WASHINGTON (NNS)
The Secretary of the Navy and the chairman of Operation Sail (OpSail), Inc. announced a partnership June 22 that will work to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The announcement was made during a ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, home of the actual flag that was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's writing of our national anthem during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.
"Beginning next year and continuing through 2015, the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard along with Operation Sail and a host of partners will commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812" Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said.
Mabus and OpSail Chairman Jose Fuentes also announced that major events will take place in New Orleans, New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Norfolk, New London, Conn., Toledo, Ohio, and Buffalo, N.Y., spanning 2012 through 2015. Navy ships will also visit the Great Lakes area for a series of port visits in cities along the Canadian and U.S. shorelines.
Other events will include Blue Angels air shows, international athletic competitions, conferences, seminars, teaching events, and observances in many of the venues that were crucial to the outcome of the conflict.
The War of 1812 marked a critical period in U.S. history when our country was forced to fight for its independence for a second time. The events will commemorate a milestone in U.S. history, and will serve to provide the American public a greater understanding the pivotal role the sea services played in securing a final victory.
Just as they are today, the ships of America's Navy in 1812 were a "Global Force for Good" combating piracy, protecting national commerce and supporting freedom of the seas.
"As we commemorate Old Glory and the War of 1812," said Mabus. "We ought to remember the delicate weaving of history that has brought America to this place of great influence and greater responsibility."
OpSail, the Congressionally-chartered non-profit producer of tall ship events, has partnered with the Navy for previous American milestones such as the 1976 bicentennial of American independence, the 1986 State of Liberty centennial, and Millennium in 2000.
Fuentes stated that this event will give millions of people the opportunity to see sailing and naval ships from across the globe sailing together, celebrating a brotherhood of the sea and of our freedoms.
"Bringing the tall ships of the world back to U.S. waters for the commemoration of this glorious American milestone excites the imagination," Fuentes said. "These events thrill all who watch the ships from afar or venture onboard, but the best part is the incomparable education it provides."