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Seagoing glory will make its way to Buffalo's port this week.
Four modern naval and Coast Guard vessels representing the United States and Canada will sail into Buffalo on Tuesday, as part of celebrations to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
It will be a moment of remembrance and pride.
And it will also be the historical echo of a similar - yet smaller-scale - waterfront event held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the war, back in 1913.
Then, Buffalonians clustered at the harbor to welcome the Brig Niagara - the famous two-masted sailing vessel that had seen action under Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie.
This time around, two centuries after the U.S. conflict with Great Britain, the Lake Erie waterfront will play host to four large vessels as well as various historical and tall ships - including that same Brig Niagara, rebuilt over the years, which calls Erie, Pa., its home port.
The seagoing ships scheduled to visit Buffalo during Navy Week are:
. The USCGC Katmai Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug for the U.S. Coast Guard.
. The USS Hurricane, a 174-foot Navy Cyclone-class patrol ship.
. The USS De Wert, a 453-foot Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate of the Navy.
. The HMCS Ville de Quebec, a Canadian Halifax-class frigate.
Navy Week 2012 will run from Sept. 11 to Sept. 16 in Buffalo.
"Buffalo and the area played a significant role during the War of 1812," said Rear Adm. Gregory M. Nosal, commander of the U.S. Navy's Carrier Strike Group Two, in a statement to The Buffalo News. "By celebrating the bicentennial, we're not only paying homage to the brave sailors who fought gallantly in that war, but the sailors today who continue to lay their lives on the line each day for our country."
During the weeklong schedule of events, spectators will have a chance to tour the ships, see historical and naval-themed presentations by military personnel, watch Navy "Leap Frogs" parachute from 12,000 feet into locations in Western New York, meet some of the 600 or so sailors from the vessels who will be in town, enjoy concerts of patriotic and popular music, and take in new exhibits on the War of 1812, among other activities.
In the maritime world, this is about as big as it gets.
"This is quite an honor for Buffalo," said Fred Dentinger, an Amherst resident who served as an officer in the Navy during the Korean War and is a past national vice president of the Navy League.
"Ships have come to Buffalo before. But this is unique because it's tied into the war - the War of 1812 celebration."
Navy Week 2012 will mark a high point for naval power and spectacle on the city's waterfront, Dentinger said.
"This is the final stop of a tour that started in New Orleans. We are one of the few cities getting a full week," he said. "We were one of the focal points of the war, when you come right down to it."
The high-powered panoply that is about to take place in Buffalo, boasting state-of-the-art seagoing vessels from both the United States and Canada, will draw the attention of the region and the nation.
The events scheduled along Buffalo's waterfront and elsewhere for Navy Week could become perhaps the glitziest and most eye-popping part of this year's bicentennial events being held on both sides of the border to mark the 200th anniversary of start of the War of 1812.
For instance: Navy "Leap Frogs," members of its elite parachuting team, will be jumping from planes at 12,500 or so feet into the Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo Canalside area, and Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park - reaching speeds of 120 to 180 mph during their plummets to the ground.
"It's wonderful," said Marina Woolcock, chairwoman of the committee charged with working with the Navy to plan Buffalo Navy Week, of the schedule of events. "It's going to be a great event, especially for the kids."
A total of 17 cities around the U.S. have been included in this summer's Navy Week events tied to the 1812 commemoration, organizing officials said.
The tour of ships is designed to highlight places significant to the national story in commemorating both the War of 1812 and the creation of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
According to local planners, Buffalo makes a natural fit for such an event.
"No one really knows very much about this war," Woolcock said. "Particularly, about the Niagara Frontier - they fought the war here for 1,000 days.
"But if you think about it ... we don't have much in the way of acknowledgement of that, in Western New York."
The Navy Week events will draw attention to Buffalo's history, and so will a new permanent exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park about the War of 1812 and local happenings of the war, said Woolcock.
"We're going to be very proud of what we're doing," she said.
The four modern ships will all arrive on the waterfront at various times Tuesday. They are scheduled to leave Ashtabula, Ohio, earlier that morning.
Then, on Wednesday, the Brig Niagara will arrive from Erie, and various other ships will also enter the city's port.
"We don't get fleets coming into the Great Lakes [often], mainly because of the shallowness of the lakes," said Dentinger, a past chairman of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce and former owner of Buffalo Fire Office.
"I think it will bring attention to Buffalo," he said. "When I talk to people, I hear that people are very excited about what's going to happen. Based on what's happened in the past, we've had large crowds come down."
Dentinger said the event in recent memory that this Navy Week most resembles was a visit by four ships representing different countries, more than 10 years ago.
"I think it's on a par with the group that came in here," Dentinger said. "It was a big deal at the time - they made quite an impression when they were here."

email: cvogel@buffnews.com