Operation Sail, Inc. and New Orleans

shutterstock_291434This week, our focus is on a nonprofit organization established in 1961 with the endorsement of President John F. Kennedy (and backed by a Joint Congressional Resolution), called Operation Sail, Inc. Its mission is to advance sail training and promote goodwill among nations. They have five international sailing events which are tied to a landmark historical event and culminate in a traditional Parade of Sail in New York Harbor. Previous OpSails have been staged in 1964 (the New York World’s Fair), 1976 (the U.S. Bicentennial), 1986 (the Statue of Liberty centennial), 1992 (the Columbus 500th anniversary), and 2000 (the New Millennium).

New Orleans is about share in the honors associated with their mission. In commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, The NOLA Navy Week Host Committee and Operation Sail, Inc. have confirmed that three vintage tall ships will be coming to New Orleans April 17-23, 2012. The historic USCG Barque Eagle will join the Guayas of Ecuador and the Gloria of Colombia, docking alongside the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park. New Orleans was chosen as the host city for the opening events marking the 200th anniversary of what has been referred to as “America’s Second War for Independence.” The three-year celebration will also end in New Orleans where the last battle of the war was fought.

As part of the commemoration there will be an air show by the U.S. Naval Air Division’s celebrated Blue Angels aircraft. It is a week-long program that will also include a parades of sail, public visitations to the ships, international athletic competitions, and community relations activities. The theme of the event is, “Our Flag Was Still There.” After 50 years of the Nave andy Operation Sail partnering up to produce these patriotic events it is finally coming to New Orleans.

Why is this war so significant? It began in  1812 in the northern region of the United States and ended with the Battle of New Orleans, fought on the grounds of a plantation in Chalmette, just outside the city, on January 8, 1815. The Battle of New Orleans helped victorious General Andrew Jackson win election as president in 1828. It also marked the last time an invading foreign army ever set foot on American soil and was a significant factor in the strengthening of the American Navy.

Keep these dates in mind when planning your April New Orleans activities. For more information about the event you can visit www.nolanavyweek.com