Yesterday marked 200 years since British soldiers set fire to the White House during the War of 1812, and the British embassy in Washington celebrated in style:
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time! pic.twitter.com/QIDBQTBmmL— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 24, 2014
The tweet was clearly sent in jest, but the thought of sparkling the White House into oblivion didn't sit well with some Americans, like @RightGlockMom:
The backlash prompted an apology from the embassy, explaining that they weren't serious about attacking the White House with birthday candles:
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
Also included in the apology was a link to an essay written by Deputy Head of Mission Patrick Davies. The piece, published in the Huffington Post, explains the historical significance of the siege on Washington, and why it's easier to joke about today.
"Needless to say, we've put the events of August 1814 far behind us," Davies writes. "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,' Obama said. 'They really lit the place up.'"
Commemorating 200 years of peace between the US & UK pic.twitter.com/5fEKRKxBFU— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) August 24, 2014