Detroit prepares ship showcase for 200th anniversary War of 1812

The Detroit News

August 22, 2012

By Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News
Detroit — International ships will converge on the Detroit River for the first time next month to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Detroit is one of 15 cities selected to act as a host port to commemorate the bicentennial of the war in conjunction with Navy Week, U.S. Navy officials said.

The public will be able to tour two U.S. Navy ships — the frigate USS De Wert and the coastal patrol ship USS Hurricane — as well as the tall ship Brig Niagara, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel and a Royal Canadian Navy frigate.

“It’s a tribute to all sea services,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ron Flesvig.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Gregory M. Nosal said Tuesday that the event marks the first time the U.S. Navy has brought naval ships of this size to the Great Lakes since 1999.

Michigan was a key area of conflict in the war fought for sailors’ rights and free trade, with U.S. and British land and naval forces clashing over control of what now is Canada.

“The War of 1812 was not well studied. Some called it the ‘forgotten war,'” Nosal said. “It was important to our country and Canada. It was vitally important to the U.S. Navy; a lot of things we learned in 1812 are just as relevant today.”

Nosal said the goal of the program is to allow citizens and sailors to meet.

Detroit Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis said the visit is an opportunity for the city and the Navy.

“The members of the Navy will enjoy and see Detroit and what a wonderful city this is and where we’re going,” he said. “The transformation we’re about to embark on is really going to set Detroit out as that city it once was many years ago.”

The arrangement to commemorate the three-year war is expected to continue in other cities in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Flesvig said.

Other cities in the tour this year are Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans and Norfolk, Va.

“They were chosen for a direct link to our heritage and the customs involved in the War of 1812,” Nosal said.

Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as an outreach effort in areas of the country without a significant Navy presence.

In 2011, there were 21 Navy Weeks across the country, reaching nearly 100 million Americans through more than 1,500 individual outreach events.

From The Detroit News:

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