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Published: Saturday, 5/25/2013

Wreath ceremony set at Fort Meigs for Memorial Day

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Three wreaths will be placed at Fort Meigs on Memorial Day to remember and honor soldiers who fought and gave their lives for America.

At 2 p.m. there will be a ceremony that Fort Meigs Director Rick Finch said will focus on the significance of Memorial Day and rememberance of events at the fort and those who fought and died there during the War of 1812. During the ceremony wreaths will be placed at monuments.

One will be laid at the monument that was dedicated to fallen Ohio soldiers, but in 2008 it was rededicated to soldiers who fought on both sides of Fort Meigs. The next monument wreath will be placed to honor Pennsylvania soldiers known as Pittsburg Blues.

The newest stone monument, dedicated May 4, is for Kentucky soldiers who served at Fort Meigs.

"They sent a large number of troops," Mr. Finch said. "They suffered more men killed or wounded than anywhere else in the war. It is important to remember those folks who gave their life."

Mr. Finch said while there will be about 10 reenactors while the fort is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday there will be no battle reenactments, but several weapon demonstrations such as musket, rifle, and artillery.

"I hope people remember Memorial Day is more than going to the lake or having a barbecue," Mr. Finch said. "I hope people can take a few hours of their day to remember those who gave their life to our country."

It is also the last weekend that the Perspective traveling exhibit will be at the fort. It looks at the War of 1812 from all the sides of the war from U.S., British, Canadian, and Native Americans.

According to the fort's Web site, on April 29, 1813, the fate of a young America was far from certain. A scant three decades after the end of the revolution that resulted in its independence, the United States was once again at war with Britain; and it was going badly for the fledgling nation. From June 1812 to February 1813, American forces lost Forts Mackinac and Detroit in the Michigan Territory, as well as Fort Dearborn in the Illinois Territory, and were defeated in battle at the River Raisin in Michigan.

But 10 fateful days changed all that. From April 30 through May 9, 1813, 1,200 American troops at Fort Meigs stood fast against the combined forces of British and Canadian soldiers and Native American warriors. Handing Britain and its allies their first major setback on America's northwest frontier, these gallant soldiers turned the tide of the War of 1812, according to the Web site.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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