Tuesday evening at the Library of Congress, the Naval Historical Foundation helped the Navy stage its formal kickoff for the 2012 War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration. The event was hosted in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building, by Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington and Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Ray Mabus. Joining the Foundation in supporting this event were the Navy League of the United States, OpSail, and the National Maritime Historical Society.
After presentation of the colors by a color guard from War of 1812 veteran USS Constitution, and a stirring rendition of the War of 1812-spawned “Star Spangled Banner” by a U.S. Navy Band vocalist, the 600 guests heard from the hosts. Dr. Billington reminded the guests of the impact of the War of 1812 on the Library of Congress, with the destruction of the entire collection when the Capitol was burned in 1814. The subsequent Congressionally authorized purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s library became the foundation of the largest such collection in the western hemisphere at the time, and set the Library of Congress on the road to becoming the world renowned repository it is today. Secretary Mabus explained the parallels between the valor, determination, and readiness to fight of the young U.S. Navy during that long ago conflict and the combat ready Navy-Marine Corps and Coast Guard team today, who have kept the seas free for these 200 years.
Foundation leadership was strongly represented at the event. Our Chairman, Admiral Bruce DeMars, USN (Ret), President, Vice Admiral Bob Dunn, USN (Ret), and seven directors all had the opportunity to attend. Following the remarks, Admiral DeMars presented a specially struck fine silver War of 1812 Commemorative Medal to Secretary Mabus. The medal’s design incorporates the official U.S. Navy War of 1812 Bicentennial logo. Bronze versions of this medal are available for sale at the National Navy Museum, or online; see our 1812 Commemorative Medal page for more information.
To learn more about the Navy’s upcoming plans for War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemorations, please visit the Navy’s official 1812 website at www.ourflagwasstillthere.org.