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War of 1812 flags flying in Havre de Grace

Flag posts around Havre de Grace might have observers thinking they've traveled back in time.

All municipal buildings are displaying 15-star and 15-stripe flags, the kind flown during the War of 1812, after the city council approved putting them up around town.

The official U.S. flag from 1812 became the nation's official banner on May 1, 1795, according to a city press release.

The flags will remain flying until December 2014 as the city continues to gear up its celebration of the bicentennial and recalls Havre de Grace's involvement in the War of 1812.

Tourism director Brigitte Peters said the flags will be displayed on all city property, such as Tydings Park and David Craig Park, as well as city hall.

She noted the city's celebration by way of flags seems unique.

"I am not sure if there have been any other municipalities that have done this for the commemoration in their area," she said Wednesday.

"It is a great kick-off and it is a great recognition of the efforts that are coming in the spring and summer of 2013," she said, referring to the formal bicentennial celebrations.

The flags began to go up on Jan. 1, she said.

John Van Gilder, with intergovernmental relations, was key in making the project happen, she said. He researched the protocol for hanging the flags and how they were used in the War of 1812.

Two stars and two stripes were added to the flag for the admission of Vermont, the 14th state, and Kentucky, the 15th.

The 15-star flag was the official U.S. flag for 23 years, with five presidents serving under it, according to the city's press release.

In May, the city will mark its bicentennial with a three-day festival.

"This is an exciting time for our city to commemorate the War of 1812 and explore our history," Peters wrote in the release. "The War of 1812 has been known as the forgotten war and with new exhibits at each museum, wayside signage being placed on the promenade and at our attractions, and traveling trunks accessible for our schools the story of Havre de Grace will be remembered."

She also said the completion of the flag project will be marked with a reception at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 at the city's Visitor Center, where a completed model of historic Havre de Grace will be unveiled.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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