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Lawrenceville marks bicentennial of War of 1812

Local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a bell-ringing Monday to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812.


Staff Photo: John Bohn Betty Lynam rings a bell as the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution hold a "Ring the Bells for 1812" Inaugural Celebration for the War of 1812 Bicentennial. The celebration was held at the historic courthouse in Lawreceville Monday.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Betty Lynam rings a bell as the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution hold a "Ring the Bells for 1812" Inaugural Celebration for the War of 1812 Bicentennial. The celebration was held at the historic courthouse in Lawreceville Monday.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Johnette Alex, of Dacula, second from left, Sylvia Johnson of Lilburn, second from right, and Sandi Christman of Grayson, far right, sing the Star Spangled Banner as the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution hold a "Ring the Bells for 1812" Inaugural Celebration for the War of 1812 Bicentennial at the historic courthouse in Lawrenceville Monday.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The peals of bells echoed through the Lawrenceville Square Monday, with the traditional noon chimes of the courthouse and nearby church joined by the tinny cries of several dozen handheld bells rung by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The mid-day ceremony was organized in less than a week to add Gwinnett's county seat to the nationwide commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

After all, as organizer Kaye Germaine of the Philadelphia Winn chapter of the national society noted, Lawrenceville can point its roots to the war, known as the second revolutionary war.

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Daughters of the American Revolution bell-ringing ceremony

Local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a bell-ringing Monday to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a bell-ringing Monday to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

"Don't give up. That's the message today: 'Don't give up the ship,'" Germaine said, quoting the line made famous by Capt. James Lawrence, who willed his sailors on during a naval fight in the war, despite suffering a mortal wound.

In 1825, the year Lawrenceville was chartered, the battle cry inspired the town to make Lawrence its namesake.

"I could only have feeling that our founding fathers felt and that we can't give up the town," Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson said, after reading a proclamation at the ceremony. "We want that same feeling in Lawrenceville. Don't give up. It started with Capt. James Lawrence."

Germaine said the words encouraged her as she planned the bicentennial event. She joined the local DAR chapter just two years ago, inspired by the death of her grandmother, who kept a pin commemorating the quadricentennial of Columbus's voyage to America.

"This is a once in a lifetime event," she said, adding that she fell in love with Lawrenceville the town the same down she fell in love with her husband, who grew up here. "This is really about the heart more than pomp and circumstance.

During the ceremony, the patriotic organization paid homage to the soldiers who fought for freedom throughout the nation's history and sang the Star-Spangled Banner, the United State's national anthem penned during a War of 1812 battle.

"I learned a lot during this beautiful ceremony," chapter member Janet Perry, donned in Revolutionary War garb, said before giving a history of Lawrence.