The USS Constitution, named by President George Washington and nearly as old as our venerable founding document itself, is still going strong. Old Ironsides, as the ship has been lovingly known ever since British cannonballs harmlessly bounced off her sides in the War of 1812, set sail once more out of Boston harbor, for just the second time in the last 131 years, to celebrate the 200-year old victory that gave her her nickname:
Some 285 people were on board the ship, which sailed under her own power for 17 minutes, traveling a distance of 1,100 yards.Tugs were then reattached to Constitution’s sides and she returned to her pier by early afternoon. The ship, which doubles as a museum, receives more than half a million visitors each year.
The Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the world still afloat. And although the United States is often called a young country, the American Republic is actually one of the oldest surviving governments in a world that often lunges from one revolution to the next. Here’s to many happy returns—for both Constitutions.