Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 12, 2012

History comes alive

Niagara Gazette — With cannons lined up along Lewiston's waterfront, pointed towards Canada, President James Madison braved a brisk chill in the night air and declared war on the British soldiers stationed just beyond the mighty Niagara Friday.

A minute or two later, the cannons fired, signaling the beginning of the War of 1812. Or rather, the show kicked off a weekend reenactment of the Battle of Queenston Heights 200 years after it kicked off the two-year war best known for helping create the Star Spangled Banner.

"Our next step is to take Fort George, across the river," Private David Yates, a re-enactor from Depew, said. "Our end goal is to drive the British off this continent and for the United States to control all of Canada. Both upper and lower Canada."

Of course, Yates, who has been reenacting battles with the 3rd Artillery Unit at Old Fort Niagara for four years, isn't serious about those intentions. The War of 1812 helped secure a lasting peace which isn't in jeopardy between the two neighbors. But during more uncertain times, borders between the two nations weren't defined.

Focus, for the re-enactors, at least, was on realism. Organizers brought six War-era cannons together for the kickoff event, the largest single showing of these types of cannons since the end of the conflict in 1814.

Yates said everything they're using, short of actual live ammunition, is exactly the way soldiers in the war experienced life.

"One of our goals is to live like the soldiers we're portraying," he said. "All the tools we're using are exactly like they would've used."

The crowd of roughly 500 onlookers appreciated the realism as the cannon blasts shook Water Street near The Silo Restaurant. Fireworks mounted by the boat docks simulated blasts, shooting toward Canada as the artillery fired. A regular fireworks demonstration accompanied the cannon display, lasting for nearly 30 minutes before a finale rocked the village.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results