1812 Bicentennial Events
On the horizon lies a historic American milestone, an extraordinary occasion for the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia... the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, planned together with the spectacle of OpSail 2012. .... OpSail 2012 Virginia is a collaboration between Operation Sail Inc. (OpSail) national, the United States Navy, Norfolk Festevents, and hundreds of national, state and local organizations.
From June 1 -12, 2012, the Port of Virginia will once again host an impressive fleet of tall ships, navy and military war ships representing the world. OpSail 2012 Virginia is planned to illuminate the community with spectacle and festivity, and will place our Commonwealth front and center on the world stage.
The goals of OpSail and the 1812 commemoration events are planned to promote goodwill among nations, inspire patriotism and foster interest in American maritime history and heritage, while creating unique educational opportunities for young and old alike and bringing economic and social benefit to our communities.
Through this commemoration of the War of 1812, the important mission of the US Navy will be advanced as we celebrate and honor the contributions the Navy has made in the building of our country while educating our communities on the important battles and historic events that took place on our very waterfronts to defend our nation.
For Americans, the War of 1812 played an important part in our nation's development. Often referred to as a second war for independence, the conflict began over maritime disputes between the United States and Great Britain. Emerging from the war, Americans had a new sense of national pride. Naval heroes like Stephen Decatur, Isaac Hull, James Lawrence, William Bainbridge and Oliver Hazard Perry were national icons on par with today's biggest movie stars. The US Navy emerged from the war with a clear mission - to deter aggression and maintain freedom of the seas for America's growing merchant marine. In 2012, America will commemorate our Navy's history, honor the men and women serving us today, and celebrate with the world our maritime heritage.
Tall ships and Navy Ships have always plied the waters of Virginia. For more than two hundred years, ships have sailed into our harbors bringing treasured cargo from exotic ports of call while others have protected our shores from those who dared to threaten our resolve as a nation.
Virginia's long experience of hosting tall ships, our history of hospitality and being home to the world's largest naval base, have earned us the distinct honor of being one of the five historic ports selected for OpSail 2012 and this Bicentennial Commemoration. Other ports of call include New Orleans, Baltimore and Boston. Events will also include New York's annual Navy Fleet Week. Beginning in early 2012, events will continue through 2015 in ports and cities around the country and Canada.
The arrival of the ships will consummate weeks of unique historical, cultural and educational events touching each and every corner of our community. Recently endorsed by the Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, this event will provide a platform for Virginia communities to develop their own unique events and programs.
Events will range from the traditional Parades of Sail, ship tours, spectacular fireworks, concerts and festivals, educational events and programs, Adopt a Ship opportunities, crew sporting events and more planned along Virginia's Waterfronts and in many Virginia communities.
When the great fleet arrives, each ship brings its own distinct crew of worldwide cultures to share with all. The international vessels will be manned by hundreds of military officers, cadets and crew… the best and the brightest. And though the sailors hail from all parts of the globe, each speaks the same language of brotherhood, the language of the great sea. For they are bound together with camaraderie established when man sets his sail on the oceans of the world, committed to the defense of their country, to work in tandem with the awesome power and majesty that our great waterways supply.
So when the ships depart, they will leave new found friendships, lifelong memories, and a deep appreciation for our water-borne bonds to the rest of our planet, binding our international ties even stronger than ever before. Nearly every sector of the region and beyond will encounter and enjoy the unparalled success of OpSail 2012 and the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 events.
Based on the success of previous maritime and tall ship events, tourism and travel, economic growth and international goodwill will prevail throughout the Commonwealth. OpSail 2000 attracted 2 million visitors and generated over $21 million dollars in visitor spending revenue.
OpSail 2012 and the 1812 Commemoration events will provide an international media spotlight showcasing our world class port, our thriving economy, our contributions to the nation's defense and Virginia's extraordinary quality of life. This sweeping worldwide attention will provide an economic springboard long after the ships have sailed.
With the early encouragement of President John F. Kennedy, since 1964 when New York City hosted the first OpSail, the world's tall ships have gathered to celebrate momentous events. This first event, held in conjunction with the World's Fair, brought together ships from around the world to celebrate global goodwill and maritime culture. Since then, OpSail events have been held in 1976 (U.S. Bicentennial), 1986 (Restoration of the Statue of Liberty), 1992 (400th Anniversary of Columbus' landing), 2000 (millennium celebration), and 2007 (Jamestown Settlement). Each event has been larger and more exciting than the last.
In June 2012, Virginia will host OpSail 2012 and the Commemoration of the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner, leaving its spectacular signature on this generation and reinforcing the Port of Virginia's rightful place as one of the greatest ports in the world.
Thank you for your interest in OpSail 2012 Virginia, we invite you to visit our site often for regular updates on visiting ships, event news, boater information, volunteer opportunities, and more.
OpSail 2012 Virginia is managed by Norfolk Festevents, Ltd., based in Norfolk, VA.