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US Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Partners commemorate Bicentennials: The War of 1812 & The Star-Spangled Banner

Fleet Weeks in San Diego, San Francisco bring 2012 schedule to an end

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Click here for links to the Fleet Weeks, and photos of US Navy, US Coast Guard, international naval, and Tall ships at earlier 2012 events

Commemoration News

Naval Historians
and the War of 1812

By William Dudley
Naval History Magazine, Spring 1990
Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute

1812 evergreen artMore than 175 years after the War of 1812, three 19th century authors, James Fenimore Cooper, Theodore Roosevelt, and Alfred Thayer Mahan, are still the preeminent naval historians of that event. Between 1839 and 1905, each made lasting contributions to the field in his own way.

Naval wars in the days of sail involved a theory and practice of ship construction, rigging and sail technology, the science of maneuvering, and a maritime dialect that was difficult for landsmen to understand. These skills are now irretrievably lost to all but a handful of our population. Many history teachers would be hard put to explain to a class the skills essential to "seeking the weather gauge" before closing with the enemy.

Perhaps we have come to a time when the war cannot be taught because we have lost the means of communicating how it was fought. It will be a real challenge to bridge this gap. When historians undertake this task, time and again they must have recourse to Cooper, Roosevelt, and Mahan.

...Read The Article

"The free flow of commerce is absolutely essential for our prosperity and that of other nations...as the past continues to inform the present and guides us to the future, the War of 1812 celebration will commemorate our rich history and heritage, positively influence the millions of Americans who come to see us, and showcase and demonstrate the capabilities of today's Navy."
Admiral Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.)
29th Chief of Naval Operations

200 Years Ago

Two hundred years ago, a small coastal nation, experiencing the growing pains of its recent independence, found itself at war with its former colonial master – the most powerful nation in the world.

The United States, independent for less than 30 years, went to war with Great Britain again in 1812 to preserve its economy, its way of life and its independence – and the US Navy emerged as the key to victory.

Born of necessity and forged in battle, the US Navy, in its infancy, took on the world’s mightiest fleet and proved to be a force of innovation, technology, esprit and expert seamanship. The US Navy kept the sea and America free during the War of 1812 – and continues to do so today.

During this "Second War of Independence," when Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the “Star Spangled Banner," the Navy proved that it was essential to our nation’s defense and prosperity by protecting national commerce, enforcing trade laws, and ensuring freedom of the seas. The Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner honors this legacy and reminds Americans that freedom of the seas and the free flow of commerce remain as important to our nation today as they were 200 years ago.


Learn even more, click on the "War of 1812" button in the menu.


The Commemoration 

From 2012 through 2015, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard commemorated the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and The Star Spangled Banner. (Why?) The Navy partnered with the International Council of Air Shows, the Navy League, the Naval Historical Foundation, and Operation Sail (OpSail) to create world-class events around the country, with signature events in New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, New Orleans, Boston, Chicago, and Cleveland, and smaller events in other cities during 2012.

The events included Blue Angels air shows, visits by ships of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, international navies, and Tall Ships; demonstrations by the U.S. Marine Corps; band concerts; “Galley Wars” cook-offs; and many other activities.

Click on our EVENTS link for a detailed list of events in 2012. Events in 2013-2015 will be announced later.


Disclaimer: This website is brought to you as a public service and in support of the War of 1812 Commemoration activities, events and resources worldwide. We have incorporated information from a variety of sources we believe may be useful to you, including from private and even commercial websites and information providers. We do not guarantee or certify the accuracy, correctness or appropriateness of any information presented on this site or that of any other websites incorporated into it, or linked to or from this website. Additionally, it is not the intent of this web resource, the US Navy, its partners or any other participant to endorse any organization, content provider or information sources provided. For any concerns we encourage you to contact us.

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