The pictures at the bottom of this blog are of the USS Constitution, or "Old Ironsides" as she was nicknamed. Launched in 1797, the ship distinguished itself in battle against the French in the Quasi-War, Barbary Pirates in the First Barbary War and finally against the British in the War of 1812. Undefeated in battle, Old Ironsides was overtaken by the Industrial Revolution and converted to a training ship prior to the American Civil War. At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, Congress authorized the Constitution's restoration, but--typically--not the funds. The ship continued to deteriorate as Congress, the US Navy and private organizations argued over who was going to foot any restoration bills. This was finally settled in 1954 by an act of Congress making the Secretary of the Navy responsible for the ship's upkeep. These pictures were taken during my brother's retirement ceremony which was held on-board. This was especially memorable since this was the first time my entire family was together in over 20 years!
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