There are plenty of examples of how things look different the farther away they are in time. The War of 1812 is a case in point.
While it wasn't a deadly event, the sacking and burning of Havre de Grace in 1813 by the Royal Navy was no doubt a traumatic experience for the city residents who lived through it. It was mainly a loss of property event, but still it was one of the rare occasions in U.S. history when a foreign belligerent caused damage on U.S. territory. All in all, it's not the kind of thing that prompts calls for anniversary parties, at least not in the first 100 or so years after the event.
Well, now it's 200 years hence and a commemorative license plate is being issued to mark an event, presumably not in celebration of a loss, but rather in honor of an event of some historic importance.
Then again, the War of 1812 is among the stranger wars in U.S. history, so historic importance is a relative term on the subject as a whole. All the same, it's nice Havre de Grace is able to embrace its past as a battleground of sorts.