Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One of those Proud Moments

The USS Constitution is 215 years old, the U.S. Navy’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. But it’s not too old to take a quick sail. Last Sunday the ship cruised west across Boston Harbor, reaching a maximum speed of 3.1 knots. It was its first sail under its own power since turning 200 in 1997.

The short trip was to commemorate the Constitution’s victory over a British warship of a similar size in a fierce battle during the War of 1812. The victory earned the ship its nickname, “Old Ironsides.” Two centuries ago on this day the Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812. The Guerriere proved no match for the Constitution. The vessels blasted away at each other at close range, even colliding at one point, during the 35-minute battle.

Following the sail, tugs took the vessel to Fort Independence on nearby Castle Island where a huge crowd had gathered, and the Constitution fired a 21-gun salute.

The ship, which was first launched in 1797, is stationed in Charlestown, and periodically is tugged into the harbor for historical display. Its primary mission today is to teach people about its history. Each year, about 500,000 people tour the ship.

Live Long and Prosper...

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