Statewide flag raising to commemorate War of 1812 anniversary

By Justin McClelland, Saturday, June 16, 2012Ceremonies are being planned locally and in all of Ohio’s 88 counties to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of 1812, a war that is often overlooked but is considered by historians an important step for the U.S. to assert itself as a fledgling world power.

Each county in Ohio has been given a 15-star U.S. flag from the state’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

Both Butler and Warren counties will raise their 1812 flags at noon on Monday. Warren County will have a special ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon at the County Administration Building, 406 Justice Drive in Lebanon. Butler County’s ceremony will be at the Fort Hamilton War Memorial in front of the High Street Bridge in Hamilton.

All churches and fire departments are being asked to help commemorate the bicentennial by ringing their bells at noon.

“The War of 1812 is a very unusual war,” said Warren County historian John Zimkus. “It helped the U.S. to be taken seriously as an independent world power and sparked a feeling of nationalism in the country that lasted for many years.

Zimkus said the war started for a number of reasons, including England violating U.S. rights by forcing U.S. sailors into the British navy and England arming Native Americans to attack outlying American posts. Some in the U.S. also wanted to invade Canada and bring that country into the United States.

Lebanon served as a rendezvous point for soldiers from Warren, Butler, Hamilton and Clermont County who then headed north to fight both Indians and the British, Zimkus said.

Future Ohio Governor and Warren County Resident Thomas Corwin received the lifelong nickname “Wagon Boy” because he took his father’s wagon and brought supplies to soldiers fighting in the northwestern part of the state, Zimkus said.

Locally, many residents volunteered to fight in the war and the northern part of Ohio saw several major battles. Most notably, in the Battle of Lake Erie, U.S. Commander Oliver Perry defeated the superior British fleet off the shores of Put-In-Bay Island leading to Perry’s famous line “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

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