Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The Charlestown Navy Yard is home to the Navy's oldest commissioned warship, The USS Constitution. "Old Ironsides" is a living history museum and one of the stops on Boston's Freedom Trail, a 2 1/2 mile stretch of historical locations in Boston (like Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church).
This summer my family and I and a friend from Iowa spent a day in Boston walking the Freedom Trail and standing and waiting for hours in the hot July sun to tour the USS Constitution. It was an honor to be allowed to stand on her deck, to go below to see how our 18th c. sailors lived. It was a privilege to hear the sailor guides serving on the Constitution tell the history of their ship. These young people showed so much pride to duty and honor.

In a recent news story (see clip), seems some residents in Charlestown that live in condos across from the frigate are upset. As usual on a military installation, the colors (i.e. the flag of the US) are raised in the morning and lowered at sundown. The officers of "Old Ironsides" perform this time honored ritual. The ship's cannons are fired in salute and the National anthem is played. That's what has some of the residents up in arms, the firing of the cannon and the playing of the National anthem.

The Constitution has been berthed at this site since the 1790's, a lot longer than the condos have been there. Sure, the cannon fire must be deafening, but what did these people expect moving next door to a military installation? Posting and retiring the colors is an integral part of any military base. It's tradition. It's patriotic. The ceremony honors our country, our service men and women (past, present, and future), and our freedom.

In July 2010, the Constitution will be turned around on her annual Fourth of July voyage. The cannon will be facing out in the harbor (Though the following year the ship will be turned again and her cannon will be facing the same direction now). The Navy is looking into using less gun powder, but I'm pretty sure they won't give up their tradition entirely. Nor should they in my opinion.

What do you think? Should the Navy cease and desist or should residents who don't like living next to a historical Naval base move?


  1. Well, I can see both sides of the story, but in my opinion, the people had a choice when they purchased the condo. No one forced them to live there. I'm fanatic about history, so I vote to keep the cannon and flags!

  2. My hubby was stationed out of the Charleston Naval Base, his sub actually docked in Kings Bay, Georgia, but off crew offices were in Charleston.

    I'm so with you for the Navy to continue doing what they are doing. It's like people who buy near the airport or a railroad and then complain about the noise-hello?

  3. We all need to choose carefully where we live and if I chose to live near an airport, I wouldn't have any right to demand that the planes stop flying over my head!

  4. The Navy should absolutely not change a thing! they were there a lot longer than the condos or the owners. We have some real whiners who have moved here to the 'burbs from the city. They complain all the time about the train noises. It never ceases to amaze me... the 'all about me' part of society.

  5. Flippin' idiots! And ya know what? I still have the tan lines on my feet from that awesome day.