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America’s Ship of State: Battered by Time, But Still Afloat

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.

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  • Luke Lea

    [Speaking of keeping the ship of state afloat, here is a nice piece on educating our children to thrive while they are riding on that ship:

    I know, off topic. But the topic will come up again.]

  • gavin

    compare to VASA Swedish ship sank <1 mile after launch.

  • Foobarista

    In case anyone’s wondering, the “still afloat” is needed because Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory of Trafalgar fame is still commissioned, but no longer afloat as she’s in a drydock.

  • Kris

    I condemn this needlessly provocative warlike act by the United States, and demand that it apologize to the United Kingdom.


  • dearieme

    A constitution can last a very long time as long as politicians and courts are prepared to turn a blind eye to it whenever a topic is serious enough.

  • Jim.

    This reminds me of the old question about the Argo… if you replace each of the boards in the ship piece by piece, and then build another ship out of the boards you took out, which ship is the real Argo?

    What Leftists follow today is not the real Constitution.

  • Hayne Hamilton

    The Venerable Mead nods. USS Constitution was launched in 1797. HMS Victory was launched in 1778, and is still on the active fleet list of the Royal Navy. She can be seen, afloat, manned and ready, in Portsmouth Dockyards.

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