Sailors from two centuries ago to be remembered

By Mark McNeil - The spec

With the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 fast approaching, a special commemoration of the loss of 53 American sailors on the Scourge and Hamilton is being arranged for Aug. 7.

The hour-long ceremony will take place at The Hamilton and Scourge Naval Memorial Garden at Confederation Park to acknowledge the sailors who died in what was the largest loss of life suffered by the United States Navy in that war.

The warships sunk to the bottom of Lake Ontario in the early morning hours of Aug. 8, 1813 when they were struck by a sudden squall that took down the ships in a matter of minutes or even seconds.

Michael McAllister, Coordinator of the Hamilton Military Museum, says there have been commemorations sporadically over the years, but with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 coming up next year, organizers have decided to host services each year until 2014.

This year’s ceremony will include a chaplain from the American Legion of Veterans.

McAllister says the memorial garden at Confederation Park was built to remember the American sailors and raise public awareness of the tragedy, even though the site is a considerable distance from where the sinkings actually took place.

The closest community on the shore is Port Dalhousie.


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