ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Annapolis War of 1812 200th anniversary commemorative walking tour opened July 6 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy.
U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael Miller, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen cut the ceremonial ribbon at Mahan Hall on the Naval Academy Yard.
During the ceremony, Miller explained why the city of Annapolis should remember the War of 1812, and its significance to the Naval Academy.
"The War of 1812 was truly our first nautical war, and rightly called our nation's second war for independence. It was foundational to the Naval preeminence we enjoy today and set the stage for what would become the United States Naval Academy."
The self-guided walking tour throughout Annapolis consists of 10 stops of historical significance to the War of 1812 and will be available through October 2014.
The tour includes five stops at the Naval Academy - Mahan Hall, the HMS Macedonian Monument, the Naval Academy Museum, the Joseph Nicholson Home and Bandstand, and the HMS Confiance Cannon.
"Some of the artifacts in this walking tour include flags of tremendous significance to our Naval heritage, such as the colors from the British Frigate HMS Guirrere, defeated by the smaller yet quicker USS Constitution on August 19, 1812 under the command of Captain Isaac Hull, and perhaps the most famous of all Naval flags, Captain Oliver Hazard Perry's 'Don't give up the ship' flag flown in our victory in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813," Miller added.
Miller concluded his speech by recognizing those who have helped with the project.
"I'd like to recognize our strong partnership with the State of Maryland, City of Annapolis and all participant groups," said Miller, "and to donors and supporters Mr. William I. Koch, Watermark Tours, the Naval History and Heritage Command, and our team here at USNA."
Beginning April 1, 2013, the tour will also feature an exhibit in Mahan Hall entitled "Seas, Lakes & Bay: The Naval War of 1812." This exhibit will feature artifacts from the War of 1812 and will be open to the public, free of charge, from Monday through Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and Sunday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m through November 3, 2013.
This walking tour and exhibition are made possible by Mr. William I. Koch, whose generous support and loan of his inspired collection of historic maritime paintings and artifacts provide a glimpse into life on the seas during the War of 1812.
Copies of the walking tour map are available at the academy's Visitor Center, the Naval Academy Museum, the Maryland State House, the Historic Annapolis Foundation on Main Street and the Annapolis Visitor Center.