In 1813, Oliver Hazard Perry led a squadron of US Navy vessels against the British Navy at the Battle of Lake Erie.
During the War of 1812, control of Lake Erie was necessary for either American or British powers to gain the upper hand in the conflict. Perry sailed aboard the USS Lawrence, under a personal battle flag emblazoned with the words “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP”—the dying words of Perry’s friend, Captain James Lawrence, who was killed aboard his ship, USS Chesapeake, earlier that year in a battle with the HMS Shannon. After defeating the British fleet on the lake, Perry issued a now-famous report to his commanding officer, William Henry Harrison; “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
Erected between 1912 and 1915, the monument to Perry’s victory is one of the tallest monuments in the United States, appearing on the US quarter in 2013 (and Perry, of course, is the namesake of Commodore Perry IPA by the Great Lakes Brewing Co.) You can ascend over 350 feet to the top of the column to get a wide view of Lake Erie, as well as some of the Canadian islands to the north. The monument museum also has plenty more information about Perry, the battle and the War of 1812.
There are three flags just outside the monument, one American, one Canadian, one British, all hung at the same height to symbolize the lasting peace between the countries. But thanks to the colossal column just behind them, no one will ever forget who the best fighter on Lake Erie was that day.