On Friday, Aug. 30 at 11:30 the Opening Ceremony was held celebrating the Victory of Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie. Many spectators were in attendance for the ceremony which was held in front of the Tall Ships Pathfinder and Playfair at Waterworks Park near Jefferson Street Pier.
The welcome was given by Debbie Hymore-Tester where she spoke of how hard the PORTS committee worked to promote and make this event happen. Bill Van Der Giessen, co-chair of the PORTS committee, was quoted as saying “By God if we can put a man on the moon, we can put these ships in the river.” The PORTS committee was also praised for their work by presentation of commendation speaker Ohio State Senator Randy Gardner and keynote speaker Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
The proclamation was given by Port Clinton Mayor Vince Leone where he especially thanked the captains of the Pathfinder, Max King-Fisher, and the Playfair, Patrick Shorey, and presented them with special awards. When asked to speak the captains both agreed that Port Clinton gave one of the warmest welcomes that they’ve had at other ports and the excitement and enthusiasm was much appreciated.
Ohio State Senator Randy Gardner said “I thought the co-chairs did a good job, but at 11:30 I knew they did a great job when the eagle flew over head to welcome us.” Gardner also spoke about the importance of Lake Erie and how it is important we bring awareness to its value.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, the keynote speaker of the ceremony, said this was the first time he has came to Port Clinton in a tie, usually he is in his fishing gear. Husted also thanked Commodore Perry because he knows northern Ohio is the place to be in late August. Gardner Thanked the PORTS committee for recognizing the importance of the battle and said how educating ourselves about the history of our home is very important. “What is happening here is fantastic,” said Husted. “We are the victors for celebrating our past.”
Ohio Secretary of State Husted was presented with a commemorative plate from the PORTS committee.
Rosemary Schramm asked the spectators and dignitaries to join her in signing God Bless America.
The laying of the wreath was done is respects to those lives lost in the Battle of Lake Erie and to honor Veterans everywhere. Cdr Jerry Nauert, USCG Port Security Unit 309 had the two captains of the Playfair and Pathfinder join him in the laying of the wreath. Taps and a cannon fire concluded the commemoration ceremony.