Mathews resident heads up War of 1812 commemoration

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on May 02, 2012 - 03:59 PM

Photo: The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned marine artist Patrick O’Brien to paint this image of a battle that took place off the shores of Gloucester Point in the York River on June 12,1813. The battle was fought hand-to-hand when forces from the British frigate Narcissus boarded the Coast Guard’s revenue cutter Surveyor, which is pictured.

The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned marine artist Patrick O’Brien to paint this image of a battle that took place off the shores of Gloucester Point in the York River on June 12,1813. The battle was fought hand-to-hand when forces from the British frigate Narcissus boarded the Coast Guard’s revenue cutter Surveyor, which is pictured.

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Steve Pope

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Steve Pope

While the 150th anniversary of the Civil War has been attracting a great deal of attention among history buffs, another important observance is also taking place—the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

For Capt. Steve Pope of Mathews, getting the word out about this "hugely important, but hugely forgotten" conflict is his mission. He is serving as the U.S. Coast Guard’s plans and liaison officer for the upcoming multi-event commemoration.

Over the next two years, the bicentennial of this defining moment in American history will take a front seat in Virginia, as the battles, both naval and land, are remembered by the Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and a host of private entities, Pope said.

Among the activities being planned is OpSail 2012 Virginia, a gathering from June 1-12 of an international fleet of naval and tall sailing ships in harbors across Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay.

Over 4,000 international officers, cadets, crew, and dignitaries from 15 nations will participate in parades of sail, ship tours, air shows, and festivals at various regional sites, said Pope. There will be fireworks, food and celebrations, and all the events will be free and open to the public.