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Ovation: Old Ironsides Sails Again.

08/20/2012

Growing up in a Chicago suburb, I was fortunate to be exposed to the many museums found in the city.  The Field Museum, The Shedd Aquarium and The Museum of Science And Industry were the destinations for many school field trips and family outings.  The latter was always my favorite.  I remember it as more of a “hands on” and interactive experience.  Visitors got to go down into a mine shaft to learn about coal mining.  Another favorite exhibit was an actual U-505 submarine …the only German submarine in the United States.  I was fascinated by the submarine and wondered why, if it was still functional, it had been retired to the museum.

Another historic vessel, USS Constitution, a 44-gun US Navy frigate and the oldest commissioned warship afloat sailed under her own power Sunday for just the second time in some 130 years.  The ship, also known as “Old Ironsides” set sail from Boston Harbor to celebrate the 200th anniversary of her victory over a British frigate during the War of 1812.

“I cannot think of a better way to honor those who fought in the war as well as celebrate Constitution’s successes during the War of 1812 than for the ship to be under sail.” – Cmdr. Matt Bonner, Constitution’s 72nd commanding officer

The ship, first launched in 1797, sailed under her own power for 17 minutes with 285 people on board and travelled a distance of 1,100 yards before tug boats were then reattached to help her return to her pier by early afternoon. The ship, which doubles as a museum, receives more than half a million visitors each year.

It’s fascinating to me to know that this ship still functions.  Like the submarine in Chicago, Old Ironsides is a “living museum” representing so much of our nation’s history.  Seeing the ship in action offers a significantly different opportunity for learning that reading about it or visiting it in a museum.

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From → Ovations

6 Comments
  1. Living history.
    You gotta love it!

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  2. Last time we were in Boston we had a personal tour of the Constitution by the history officer. I loved it. Then they were getting ready for a wedding. I thought it was a fantastic place for a wedding at sunset. I’d loved to have seen the pictures. It is still a commissioned and operating ship with a full crew of the US NAVY.

    If you are ever in Groton CT you should go to the US Submarine museum there. You can climb around on the Nautilus the first atomic sub. Another one I loved was in Mt. Pleasant SC next to the Yorktown is the USS Calmagora.

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    • Thanks for the tip! I can’t imagine what it would feel like to actually sail on a ship that old. A submarine, on the other hand, frightens me a bit.

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      • Submarines aren’t my thing never been on one when it was underway. Eaten dinner there when it was in port and Mike was OOD (Officer on Deck). Can’t say it’s a profession I’d want.

        I’d love to sail on a multi-masted ship. Been on single masted yachts sailing (Mike was a crew member on a weekend racer) but never one like that. Would love it. Have seen Old Ironsides turn though back years ago… about 20 or so.

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