OTTAWA, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - A mortar that stood in defence of Canada during the War of 1812 is going on display at the American Embassy in Ottawa, courtesy of the Canadian War Museum, as both countries commemorate the 200th anniversary of their historic, cross-border conflict.
The 91kg (200 lb.) brass mortar from the Museum's permanent collection was presented on loan to U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson by Mark O'Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. The ceremony was held today at the War Museum in Ottawa.
A reciprocal loan from the Smithsonian Institution will be made at a later date to Ambassador Doer, Canada's Ambassador to the United States in Washington. The exchange is a symbol of the close friendship that exists between the two countries 200 years after the outbreak of war.
"Canada's national museum of military history is proud to be a partner in this unique commemoration of the War of 1812," said Mr. O'Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, which includes the Canadian War Museum. "The loan of this historic artifact to the American Embassy underlines the importance of the conflict in the histories of both countries."
"This mortar is a symbol of a war that transformed into a lasting legacy of peace, security and prosperity," said Ambassador Jacobson. "Americans and Canadians once fought each other; today we are the closest of friends, and no two countries in the world have a stronger relationship."
The mortar presented to Ambassador Jacobson was made in Britain in 1807 and bears the royal cipher of King George III. It formed part of the defence in Halifax, Nova Scotia, during the War of 1812. The smoothbore, muzzle-loading weapon fired hollow iron spheres packed with gunpowder. When the balls exploded, metal fragments sprayed in every direction. These were the "bombs bursting in air" referred to in The Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States.
Two hundred years after the start of the War of 1812, the Canadian War Museum is commemorating this major national turning point with an innovative exhibition that presents the conflict through the eyes of the war's four main participants: Canadians (including Canadian First Peoples), Americans, the British and Native Americans. 1812, supported by National Presenting Sponsor TD Bank Group and National Supporting Sponsor Ancestry.ca, opens to the public on June 13, 2012.
The Canadian War Museum is Canada's national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada's military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.
Image with caption: "Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation CEO Mark O'Neill and United States Ambassador David Jacobson unveil the mortar. Photo © Canadian War Museum, Corporate Photo Collection, photo S. Darby, CWM2012-0034-0004-Dm (CNW Group/Canadian War Museum)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120605_C6262_PHOTO_EN_14773.jpg
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Canadian War Museum
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Canadian War Museum