As part of the bicentennial celebration for the Battle of Lake Erie, my wife Mary and I had the opportunity to experience the Pelee Island Tall Ships Festival. For those of you who have never heard of Pelee Island, it’s a small island in Lake Erie that has less than 300 permanent residents (the number grows to around 1500 in the summer). Most people travel to Pelee by ferry. Our family has always been interested in the history of the War of 1812 due to our familiarity with Fort Amherstburg (in Canada) and other related forts.
In addition to quenching our thirst for more history on this keystone battle over this strategic waterway, Lake Erie, we also learned an amazing thing about the power of a friendly wave on Pelee Island. We didn’t quite realize it at first, but it soon dawned on us that everywhere we went, we received a friendly wave from Pelee Island residents. From the bus driver to kayakers to random people on the street, we were greeted by waves of welcome. It was like being a part of a small town where everyone knows you for a day. And the funny thing is, it didn’t take long for us to start waving ourselves. It was contagious. You’ve heard the saying, “laugh and the world laughs with you?” On Pelee Island it’s “wave and the world waves back.” Or at least it should be. Maybe that’s a good idea for their next t-shirt. And speaking of t-shirts, of course we couldn’t resist purchasing a t-shirt commemorating the battle. It features all the ships involved in the famous fight, six British ships and nine ships in the American armada. Read more about the famous battle here. There are still some celebratory events going on until September 10, the actual anniversary of the battle. For more information, click here.