Chemerka to speak on the War of 1812 at Westfield Historical Society

New Jersey

New Jersey

By Suburban News
on October 24, 2012

William Chermerka                                                  Suburban News
On Friday, Nov. 9, the Westfield Historical Society will present historian William Chemerka, who will discuss the War of 1812. This year marks the bicentennial of the start of the nearly three-year struggle that has been described as “America’s second war of independence.”The causes of the War of 1812 were numerous and varied. The American public resented the impressment of American merchant sailors by the British navy who refused to recognize that British-born sailors could become naturalized as American citizens and forcefully added them to the large British Navy. There was also a desire by some in power, led by the War Hawks and Speaker of the House Henry Clay, to try to invade and annex Canada.The war is remembered for Dolly Madison’s efforts to save some of the White House treasures before the British arrived and burned Washington, D.C. in July 1814. It is also known for the successful defense of Fort McHenry which resulted in Francis Scott Key’s penning of the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” which was made our national anthem in 1931. The war included many navy battles, including the Battle of New Orleans which made a hero of Andrew Jackson although it was fought weeks after the signing of the peace treaty which had officially ended the war.

Chemerka is an award-winning educator, writer and lecturer. He earned nearly 20 teaching awards, including the DAR’s “Outstanding Teacher of American History in the State of New Jersey,” during his long teaching career at Madison High School. He was also a multiple honoree of Who’s Who Among American Teachers and was the only teacher in 2001 to receive the New Jersey Historical Commission’s prestigious “Award of Recognition.”

He has been an on-camera consultant for numerous History Channel productions and was a writer for the Channel’s 2004 Emmy-nominated documentary, First Invasion: The War of 1812. He is also the author a number of books, four of which – “C. C. and the Alamo Cats,” “Juan Seguin,” “The Alamo from A to Z,” and “Fess Parker: TV’s Frontier Hero,” were all published in 2011.

The program will be held in the Community Room of the Westfield Municipal Building at 425 E. Broad St. It is free and open to the public. Donations to help support ongoing programs are appreciated. An artifact from the collection of the Westfield Historical Society Museum related to the War of 1812 will be on display. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, call the society at 908-654-1794.

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