31 Day Salute is a month-long celebration of performances, ceremonies, exhibits and activities where we invite the world to do what the Fayetteville community does every day — show our enthusiastic appreciation, respect and support for those who serve and have served in our armed forces. Put on by the entire community, 31 Day Salute is for anyone who wants to experience our military heritage and honor our brethren in the services — past and present. As part of this salute to our military, the Museum of the Cape Fear is hosting a military history lecture series.
Beginning on May 2, at 6:30 p.m., Jim Greathouse, a member of North Carolina’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, will provide a PowerPoint presentation on War of 1812 Gunboats. Three Jeffersonian gunboats were built in Smithville (now Southport), North Carolina. They were given the designation of gunboats 166, 167 and 168. The gunboats were small ships with a crew of about 40 ofﬁ cers, sailors and marines. Soon after the War of 1812 began, gunboat 166 was given a proper name and christened the U.S. Schooner Alligator. The Alligator saw action service along the North and South Carolina coastlines. In January of 1814 she defeated a much larger attacking British naval force. Months later the 64-foot schooner sank in Port Royal Sound, S.C., during a storm. She was raised and reﬁ tted for further wartime service. Greathouse’s presentation also commemorates the War of 1812 Bicentennial, which will last until 2015. This presentation is a great opportunity to learn more about a forgotten war. (Some historians refer to the War of 1812 as America’s second war for independence.)
The second in the series will take place on May 9, at 6:30 p.m. Red, White, Blue, & Black: A History of African Americans in the United States Military will be presented by Charles Anderson, Jr., adjunct professor with Methodist University. His talk examines the role played by African Americans in the history of the United States military, from before the American Revolution to present day. Anderson is a veteran of the United States Army. This amazing story delves into the contributions of many brave and determined young men who were denied rights and denied admittance into the army but were called upon to ﬁ ght in all the early wars. When ﬁ nally allowed into the military, it was on a segregated basis until President Truman integrated the army in 1948. Since the early days of our nation as much as 20 percent of the Navy has always been made up of African Americans.
The third and ﬁnal lecture will take place on May 16, at 6:30 p.m. Jason Wetzel, staff historian with the Ofﬁce of Army Reserve History, Headquarters – United States Army Reserve, will talk about Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy’s “Flawed” Victory. Wetzel’s presentation will include the amazing blunders of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and he will provide a detailed look at “lessons learned” from the attack on our Paciﬁc Fleet on Dec. 7, 1941. Real surprises are revealed. Wetzel states “It could have been a lot worse, why?” The attack on Pearl Harbor was one of the most signiﬁ cant events in our nation’s history and was the ﬁ nal straw that took us into World War II.
All three lectures are free and open to the public. They take place the ﬁ rst three Thursdays in May. Mark your calendar and plan to join in on this salute to the Armed Forces by learning more about our military’s history. For more information please call 910-486-1330 or visit the following websites: http://museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov or http://nccultureevents.com.
31 Day Salute originated in 2008 and it is put on by the entire community. It is for anyone who wants to experience our military heritage and honor our brethren in the services — past and present. For more information browse the website at http://www.31daysalute.com/.
Photo: Jim Greathouse, a member of North Carolina’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, will provide a PowerPoint presentation on War of 1812 Gunboats.