Navy Weighs Anchor for War of 1812 Bicentennial
The Library of Congress hosted "the Department of the Navy's Commemoration Honoring the Bicentennial of the War of 1812" March 13 at its Thomas Jefferson Building. With Jay DeLoach, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, as master of ceremonies, Librarian of Congress James Billington welcomed the crowd and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. Billington noted the library's link to the war and the Burning of Washington in 1814 with its first replacement volumes from Thomas Jefferson. Mabus said that the War of 1812 is "overlooked and least remembered" of America's war but has "an outsized impact" on its history. As the 75th Secretary of the Navy, Mabus recalled that the first Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert -- who built and lived in Halcyon House on Prospect Street in Georgetown -- had no ships to begin with. The war "confirmed our independence," Mabus said, and was "fought over the idea of the freedom of the seas . . . not just for ourselves but for all." Navy events for the War of 1812 begin in New Orleans in April and continue on the East Coast through the year. For details, visit www.OurFlagWasStillThere.org.