Naval & Military Park marks Flag Day, 1812 peace garden, Army's birthday

Jun 14, 2016

While Western New Yorkers are marking Flag Day, there were three special occasions marked Tuesday morning at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, including the dedication of a garden celebrating two centuries of friendship with America's northern neighbor.

There was recognition of Flag Day at the Naval and Military Park, including a signing of "You're a Grand Old Flag" that included students from Buffalo's Lorraine Elementary School.

This newly-dedicated plaque marks the Ghent Rose Garden, which was officially opened Tuesday as part of Flag Day ceremonies at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

It was also noted that June 14, 1775 marks the birth of the United States Army, first formed as the Continental Army prior to the formal declaration of American independence.

The main theme of Tuesday morning's ceremony, though, was the dedication of the Ghent Rose Garden at the park. The Ghent Rose, it was explained, is a yellow rose that became a symbol at the signing of the treaty ending the War of 1812. 

"The rose represents friendship and peace," said Marina Woolcock, chairwoman of the Naval and Military Park's 1812 Celebration Committee. "We always want to remember that. That's why this garden is here today. We celebrate friendship with Canada and Great Britain for 200 years."

Speakers pointed out that the War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations held in Buffalo just a few years ago were grand and perhaps, in their words, the biggest of any commemorations held in the 37-year history of the park. Don Alessi, chairman of the park, says the events remembering 1812 were not about celebrating war but about honoring the lasting peace.

"War should not be celebrated," Alessi said. 

The garden is located at the western end of the park, near the intersection of Marine Drive and Erie Street.