ANDOVER, Mass. — It has been 200 years since the War of 1812, but its impact still rings out today through the words of our National Anthem.
This Memorial Day, the town of Andover, Mass., will pay tribute to the bicentennial of the war against the British over trade disputes, among other things.
"The War of 1812 was really our second war of independence," said Michael Burke, Andover's veterans services director. "If the United States had lost the war, the British may have taken control of us and colonized once again."
Burke noted that the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, by poet Francis Scott Key, were inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor the morning after British bombardment in 1814.
The war's impact was considerable. The USS Constitution earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" during one battle. There are still scorched stones in the White House from when the British burned Washington, D.C. And Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans, which took place after the formal end of the war, helped propel him to the presidency.
Burke said the war "showed the world that we're a power to be reckoned with" and deserves commemoration on Memorial Day.