Youngstown, N.Y. - As the country prepares to honor its military heroes and history over Memorial Day weekend, the American repatriation of Fort Niagara after the War of 1812 is part of the celebration. On May 22, 1815, at 11 a.m., the United States Army peacefully took control of the fort from the British, who had captured it during the war.
In honor of the 200th anniversary of this event, Old Fort Niagara will fly its War of 1812 Garrison Flag reproduction on Friday, May 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the pole in front of the visitor center. The full-size 24-by-28 foot reproduction has 15 stripes and 15 stars to reflect the number of states in the United States of America as of 1795 (the year of the last flag legislation passed before the war). Due to its size, it is only flown for special occasions.
The original flag, which is always on display in the fort's museum, is older than The Star-Spangled Banner (both the song and the flag) and is the actual flag that was flown at Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.
Also on Friday, the fort will host a number of schools from the region for a repatriation themed education program, where students will learn about the changing of the guard and soldiers' lives, watch musket firings and infantry drills, hear field music, play 19th century games, see the blacksmith, joiner and cooper shops in action, and learn about Native roles at the fort.
Additional photo opportunities over Memorial Day weekend include:
"Soldiers Through the Ages" Re-Enactment, Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Old Fort Niagara
VFW Post 313 Memorial Service, Mon., 11 a.m., at Fort Niagara Cemetery
Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is located in Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, N.Y., which is 14 miles north of Niagara Falls via the Robert Moses Parkway North. The Fort opens at 9 a.m. daily and is open until 5 p.m. Admissions end at 4:30 p.m. Old Fort Niagara is a Registered National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association (a not-for-profit organization) in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Like us on Facebook.