Illuminating Peace

It is hard to believe that we are closing in on two hundred years of peace with Canada and Great Britain. So we are excited about creating a harbor illumination this summer, something everyone can participate in to celebrate. This is an event that will capture the imagination and memories of islanders and visitors, something that connects us to our history but extends to our personal celebration as well.

 


Our Battle of Lake Erie bicentennial observance, which begins this summer, is the prelude to that important anniversary. It was on the eve of Christmas in 1814 when we signed the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812. Perhaps we take it for granted that the two hard fought wars between the United States and Great Britain left us as firmly entwined allies not enemies. That alliance has been important through out the years, not just during wartime but during peaceful times as well.

 
As a very young child I lived just out side Buffalo, New York. My Uncle and Aunt lived in a small community in Ontario Canada near the north shore of Lake Erie in a community known as Point Abino. During the summers we would often head to their lakeside house to escape the heat of the summer and enjoy the sandy shores of Crystal Beach. It seemed to me that going to Canada was effortless, no passports, border guards or customs officer.

 
It was way beyond my understanding at the time to realize that the Treaty of Ghent had solidified that open border that we still enjoy today. In fact in Put-in-Bay we welcome our northern friends every summer that come from Port Stanley, Leamington, Amherstburg and beyond to visit our island.
My Aunt and Uncle have long since passed away, but the memories of those wonderful summers in Point Abino still shine brightly in my mind. I want to remember not only my Aunt and Uncle, but also my mother and father who brought me here to Put-in-Bay for many, many wonderful summers after we moved to Columbus.

 
So this summer in Put-in-Bay we are going to celebrate our good fortune, that feeling of security we enjoy that has come with an open border and enduring peace, by staging an illumination of the inner harbor. This potentially spectacular event will take place at dusk on September 8th after the Toledo Symphony has concluded its performance.

 
From the edge of the Monument property to Stone Lab and along the shores of Gibraltar we will have flares deployed every 15 feet. At a prescribed time all the flares will be lit providing an illumination of the harbor that will be visible by land, boat and air. The flares will burn for about 20 minutes allowing for great photos, quiet moments and some heart felt remembrances to be shared.

 
But in order to have this happen we need your help. Perry’s Victory, Stone Lab and the Village of Put-in-Bay have given us permission to stage this event, but we need your thoughtful involvement as well. Buy a flare, maybe two for your lost loved ones, or for your family that enjoys life here in the Bass Islands. They cost just $10 each and you can write a special quote or memory in our online logbook for the event. Plan to invite friends and family to our island for Historic Weekend and celebrate the Bicentennial.

 
This first year of the illumination we hope to have at least 500 flares lit. Call, write, go online or email us if you’re onboard, $10 a flare for a memory and moments of thankfulness. We need volunteers, supplies and helpful cooperation from all the businesses and homeowners along the waterfront.
Now, when I think back to the events that unfolded during the War of 1812, I am especially thankful for the bold and brave actions of our Navy and Commodore Perry on that fateful day in September of 1813. Their sacrifice is embodied in our enduring peace with Great Britain and Canada today. Come celebrate!

 
The Perry Group PO Box 484 Put-in-Bay, Ohio 43456, 419-285-2491
http://www.theperrygroup.org battleoflakeerie@gmail.com

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