A Friday afternoon ceremony commemorated the date of March 25, 1822, when U.S. Navy Lt. Matthew Perry, under orders from the Navy, planted the American flag on island soil.
Weekend event highlights included a Navy color guard presentation and flag raising on Key West’s Mallory Square that symbolized Perry’s momentous act.
“What this day means to the City of Key West -- we have so many people here that are so proud of our community,” said Key West Mayor Terri Johnston.
“As you can hear though the speeches, we’re a very resilient community who have overcome many obstacles in the past 200 years, and we are still here today better than ever — and it’s a tribute and testament to the hardy souls that call Key West home and have for 200 years,” said Johnston.Several hundred people attended the waterfront ceremony, which featured the filling of a granite time capsule with items that included mementos and letters from officials and schoolchildren, flags and badges, and even a commemorative bicentennial bottle of locally-distilled rum.
Five Key West children were designated to be ambassadors at the island’s 250th anniversary celebration, when the time capsule is to be opened.
After comments from dignitaries including U.S. Senator Rick Scott, who placed a signed Navy cap into the time capsule, the ceremony concluded with presentations by Bahamian officials and an impromptu Junkanoo jam of island rhythms.
Bicentennial festivities continue Saturday with a Heritage Festival at Truman Waterfront Park and a silent, eco-friendly drone fireworks display. Key West’s Custom House Museum features the “Key West 200” exhibit, chronicling the island’s colorful heritage and evolution, through early December.
Perry sailed to Key West on the U.S.S. Shark to physically claim the island as a U.S. territory. His original logbook, detailing his voyage and arrival, was recently presented to the local library’s Florida History Department for permanent safekeeping.
Story: Key West Celebrates 200th Anniversary of Designation as U.S. Territory
Locator Super: Key West, Fla.
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B-roll includes bicentennial ceremony, military flag raising, time capsule filling, and comments by dignitaries including Captain Mark Sohaney, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Key West (:20 to :33). SOTs with Key West Mayor Teri Johnston (1:49 to 2:15).
Video Source: Florida Keys
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