USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat.... The crew of the Constitution and her commanding officer, Commander Matt Bonner, during the bicentennial observances of the War of 1812, sailed the Constitution under her own power on August 19, 2012, the anniversary of her defeat of the Guerriere. Bonner is Constitution's 72nd commanding officer. -- Wikipedia
".... and gave us an opportunity of pouring in upon his Larboard Bow several Broadsides, which made great havock amongst his men on the forecastle and did great injury to his forerigging, and sails, The Enemy put his helm to Port, at the time we did, but his MizenMast being over the quarter, prevented her coming too, which brought us across his Bows, with his Bowsprit over our Stern. At this moment I determined to board him, but the instant the Boarders were called, for that purpose, his Foremast, and Mainmast went by the board, and took with them the Gib-boom, and every other Spar except the Bowsprit. On seeing the Enemy totally disabled, and the Constitution received but little injury I ordered the Sails filled, to hawl off, and repair our damages and return again to renew the action...."
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon’s roar;—
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!
Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o’er the flood
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor’s tread,
Or know the conquered knee;—
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
O, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every thread-bare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,—
The lightning and the gale!
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Posted by gerardvanderleun at August 19, 2012 9:11 PM