Three nations’ flags flew high next to Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial on Tuesday, Sept. 10, those of Great Britain, Canada and the United States of America. Three national anthems were sung, God Save the Queen, O Canada and The Star Spangled Banner. A Native American blessing was given for the native people who had lost their lives in battle.
During the anniversary program of the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie there was mourning for those lost in battle but also a celebration of peace. The Presentation of Colors was given by the U.S. Armed Forces Honor Guard. In attendance were crew members of the U.S. Brig Niagara, The Royal Navy’s Royal Newfoundland Regiment, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard. The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps stood at attention behind the speakers throughout the program.
The Midwest Regional Director of the National Park Service, Michael T. Reynolds, said during his speech that the United States and Canada give “a great example of the extraordinary feat that can happen when we work together over international borders.”
Bill Brake, the Field Unit Superintendent of Parks Canada, said because of the partnership that the United States and Canada share, we are able to tell the whole story of the Battle of Lake Erie. Many stories were told at the ceremony of the collaborative efforts that the United States and Canada have shared over the years to get all of the rich history and information about the battle.
Dr. Roy Norton, Consul General of Canada, Detroit, MI, said that we have the best example of how two nations can live side by side respectfully. He said citizens of the two countries are the “envy of the world”, knowing that we will never go to war with each other again. Echoing what the other speakers had said he stated that we are a model for the world for peace and prosperity between two neighboring nations. “We matter to one another, we matter a lot”, said Norton.
When Keynote Speaker Governor John Kasich took the podium he said that we are all brothers and sisters living on the same continent. Governor Kasich also recounted the Battle of Lake Erie, speaking of the friendship between Oliver Hazard Perry and James Lawrence. Kasich said that Lawrence inspired Perry to keep fighting. Perry’s victory was a “tribute to courage and sacrifice” of his friend Lawrence.
Governor Kasich also made note of the release of the commemorative stamp earlier that day at Put-In-Bay. He said that through heavy fire and perseverance Perry dredged from the Lawrence to the Niagara during the battle and it was a great scene to depict on the stamp commemorating the battle.