|Thursday, Sep 14, 2006|
Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial was the center of attention this past weekend (September 9-10), marked with a full program of events commemorating the 193rd anniversary of the decisive Battle of Lake Erie. There were 1,300 Boy Scouts encamped at the monument for two days, at least 40 of whom were Canadian Scouts. Forty-five reenactors were also encamped on monument grounds, providing living history demonstrations, as well as musket drills and thunderous cannon firing exhibitions.
On Saturday afternoon, a parade was held, complete with a Navy color guard under command master chief Matthew Ellis from the USS Lake Erie, reenactors and Boy Scouts, four marching bands, fire trucks and antique cars. A memorial ceremony followed. The audience was welcomed by superintendent Andy Ferguson, who also specially welcomed the 95th Infantry Division, 320th Engineers, "The Iron Men of Metz." Father Jeff Nordhaus offered a prayer for peace. As the large garrison flags waved in the wind, the national anthems of Canada and Great Britain were played by the combined bands of Tiffin-Columbia, Clyde, Genoa Area and Rossford High Schools. The "Star Spangled-Banner" was then sung by island resident Anne Parker.
The keynote speaker, Navy inspector general vice admiral Ronald Route, addressed the theme of a "Quest for Peace" following the remarks offered by rear admiral (USN retired) Wayne Meyer, the "father of the Aegis missile system." Also speaking were Port Clinton Boy Scout Zack Auxter, who read "What Old Glory Means to Me"; Maggie Beckford, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce; Mary Ann Market, president of the Perry Group; Richard Fisher, scout executive/CEO, Erie Shores Council, Boy Scouts of America; Josy Parrotta-Marck, Canadian consul and trade commissioner; congresswoman Marcy Kaptur; and Randall Hendrickson, captain of the USS Lake Erie. The master of ceremonies was the honorable judge George Smith, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio. Senator Mike DeWine sent a United States certificate of commendation "in recognition of the 193rd anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie and subsequent peace between the United States and Canada." There were about 350 in attendance.
On Saturday evening, more than 1,200 people enjoyed a free concert featuring the Toledo Symphony on the back steps of the visitor center. Despite the cool temperatures, all seemed to enjoy the concert very much. Under the direction of Chelsea Tipton II, the 60-piece Toledo Symphony played their 16th concert for the island community. There were numerous comments about how good the symphony sounded using the visitor center as a backdrop.
There was no rain, but brisk winds and unseasonably cooler temperatures may have kept visitation low. Still, the Monument column was open daily and the grounds were filled with kite flying and families enjoying one of the last weekends of the summer.