Peace takes precedence at War of 1812 bicentennial celebration

Maryland Community News Online

Monday, June 18

O’Malley, British and U.S. officials use anniversary to highlight close relationship between nations

by c. benjamin ford, Staff Writer


With an undefeated record against Britain in wars, U.S. and Maryland officials highlighted the nearly 200 years of peace between the two nations as part of the War of 1812 bicentennial events on Monday.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, Sen. Barbara Mikulski and the British and Canadian ambassadors to the U.S. gathered at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on Monday to mark the 200th anniversary of the U.S. declaration of war against Great Britain, which launched the War of 1812.

The war ended in 1815 with a second U.S. victory against the British, and marked the last time the two sides battled each other.

“In my early days in community organizing in Fells Point — when we were fighting a highway that would have wiped the harborfront community clean of historic buildings and the people who lived there — our battle cry was, ‘The British couldn’t take Fells Point, the termites couldn’t take Fells Point, and the State Roads Commission can’t take Fells Point’,” Mikulski said in an emailed statement.

With the weekend’s tall ship event Sailabration drawing huge crowds to Baltimore to mark the War of 1812 bicentennial, O’Malley, Canadian ambassador Gary Doer and British ambassador Peter Westmacott chose to honor the long-established peace instead of the war itself.

“Today may mark the 200th anniversary of a declaration of war, but we are also celebrating 200 years of peace, prosperity and partnership among the U.S., U.K. and Canada that have followed on from the War of 1812 and helped make the world a freer, safer place,” Westmacott said.

“Two hundred years later, we are still stitched together by the common thread of human dignity, and like the dawn’s early light, we move forward, together,” O’Malley said in his speech.

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