Long Branch: The Historical Association puts on some great shows – interesting and full of unique looks into our past as a country, city, and state. The success leans heavily on the presenter knowing their subject and doing a smooth job of presenting.
At the Wednesday May 30th event at City Hall, historian Bob Silverman did it all with his great presentation about a war many have forgotten. The War of 1812 was the topic - a war to establish the USA as a country to deal with, to respect and to not take so lightly as England and France had gotten used to doing. They had their own war going on – not unusual for those days.
Britain was the ruler of the waves, 300 warships-deep in their inventory. Big ships, armored to the gills. France was no slouch, but its power was position on the mainland and the English Channel, a buffer.
America was a new kid. It still was teething in many ways, but it had made its way into the trade world. That is what got its ire up when the two took the view that they could have their way with the little guy with only a 17 ship fleet for the 3 decades old “newbie”.
Silverman told a story that was made for a movie with a plot no one would believe. The bullies lost to the little kid, the one with only guts to make its way. And it left behind a song with Francis Scot Key’s poetic “Our flag was still there”.
The Brits took our sailors off our ships, blockaded us, and underestimated the new found enemy that they gave up on in 1776.
Silverman had spun a hundred forces of history onto the well knitted quilt he presented. He told about heroes and defeats. The burning of Washington, DC. The Battle of New Orleans, won with militia and pirates winning amazingly over trained, seasoned, skilled British soldiers in the lopsided victory led by Andrew Jackson.
The presentation had been planned for months. At the last minute, when the intended speaker couldn’t make it, the Association asked Silverman, a Civil War expert, but in reality a superb historian as well.
The presentation was put together a week or so before Wednesday. Top quality by Silverman made the slide presentation and slides themselves great. It was very professional, audience delight.
“Don’t give up the show,” was the lesson we learned.