Too soon? The British Embassy in Washington has issued an apology after tweeting a “commemorative” picture of the White House on a cake, surrounded by sparklers, in remembrance of the British burning the building 200 years ago, BBC News is reporting.
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time! pic.twitter.com/QIDBQTBmmL
— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 24, 2014
Several users took exception to the British Embassy’s attempt at humor, saying that the tweet was in poor taste. The tweet was followed by an apology a couple of hours later.
Apologies for earlier Tweet. We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our strong friendship today http://t.co/gs3heJDMzt
— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 25, 2014
On August 24, 1814, British troops descended on Washington in an offensive that was part of the War of 1812 — yes, parts of the War of 1812 took place in 1814. During the battle, British troops set fire to several public buildings, including the Navy Yard, the White House, and the Capitol. It was the only time in U.S. history that an invading army has ever occupied Washington, according to The History Channel. Much of the interior was burned to the ground, and the exterior of the White House was charred black. Nevertheless, the building was restored, with president James Monroe moving back in, in 1817.
Patrick Davies, the British diplomat behind the offending tweet, said that it was all in good fun, and meant to commemorate the current attitude of peace and cooperation between the two allies. In an op-ed piece in The Huffington Post, Davies says:
“Needless to say, we’ve put the events of August 1814 far behind us. So much so, in fact, that when the British prime minister, David Cameron, visited the White House two years ago, he and President Obama, fresh from watching a March Madness basketball game together, traded wisecracks about the burning. The redcoats ‘made quite an impression. They really lit the place up.'”
Do you believe the British Embassy’s tweet mocking the burning of the White House 200 years ago was in poor taste? Let us know in the comments.
[Image courtesy of: BBC]