Perry Gate Memorial rededicated
April 5, 2012: The Perry Memorial Gateway located at the Lapeyrouse cemetery was rededicated on April 4, 2012 by Ambassador Beatrice W. Welters.
The Gate was named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, one of the most celebrated American naval heroes. Several cities and counties across the United States are named after Commodore Perry. He also lends his name to the U.S. Navy‘s Oliver Perry Class Frigate because of his courageous battle which also earned him the title ‘Hero of Lake Erie’.
Perry was later dispatched on a diplomatic mission to South America where he met with the newly-formed government of Simon Bolivar. Unfortunately he contracted yellow fever, dying en route to Port of Spain on his thirty-fourth birthday. He was buried at the Lapeyrouse cemetery.
In 1925 Consul Henry D. Baker set out to mark the piece of shared history. When he could not locate the original burial site he instead worked with City of Port of Spain to mark the place Commodore Perry entered Lapeyrouse Cemetery with the ornamental gateway.
He arranged for the gateway to be built in the United States and transported here at his own expense.
He felt it would be a long-standing memorial to the deep bonds of brotherhood between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago.
Ambassador Welters and other embassy officers learnt of the gate’s existence through local historian and journalist Louis Homer and American historian Brad Coleman. Working with the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and the Port of Spain City Corporation, as well as members of the USNS Grapple, the gate was restored and rededicated.
Elements of the rededication ceremony included the symbolic key handing over from Ambassador Welters to Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing, wreaths being laid and a military parade.
See Ambassador’s full remarks at http://photos.state.gov/libraries/port-of-spain/19452/public/remarksofusambassadoratperrygaterededication.pdf
See more photos at http://trinidad.usembassy.gov/perrygate.html