Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ships: Privileged to Serve

Though I know that "Privileged to Serve" is generally a motto of the U.S. Army, this wonderful article from the Boston Globe on line makes it clear that the members of the U.S. Navy who work the oldest commissioned warship afloat feel very privileged indeed.

USS Constitution - the fabled Old Ironsides - carries a crew of 60 sailors and each and every one is honored to serve aboard her.  The quotes in the article are fascinating as we learn about men and women who have seen duty in such far flung places as African, European and Asian ports of call literally "jump at the chance" for a spot aboard Constitution.

As an example, Anthony Costa, senior chief boatswain's mate and sailing master on the ship, has this to say in the article:

What better way is there to learn about our nation's naval history?  This is where it all began.  The Constitution is one of the ships that said to the world that America wasn't fooling around when it came to the Navy.  

Constitution is a working sailing ship and, though it is a rare event to find her sailing past the outer harbor in Boston, she is on the water at least six times a year.  That means that all the modern sailors assigned to her need to handle her rigging and sails just as their ancestors would have. 

To this day, Constitution even has a master at arms which was one of the original positions in the U.S. Navy.  It would probably come as a surprise to men like Stephen Decatur, James Barron and David Porter that the position is today filled by a woman, Marina Chavez.  Other things have changed too; as Chavez notes, one of the master at arm's duties originally was to assist with flogging.  "No longer part of my job description," she says.

If you'd like to know more about Constitution's participation in events celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812, or just find out the museum's hours, check out their official website.

Happy 4th of July to all the Brethren in the U.S. of A.  We've a proud heritage and we should never forget what our ancestors went through to ensure our freedom. As John Adams so righteously put it:

Posterity!  You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom!  I hope you will make good use of it.  If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.

To bring that into modern terms, allow me to quote another righteous American, RuPaul:  "Don't f**k it up."

Header:  Marina Chavez, USS Constitution's Master-at-Arms via 


Timmy! said...

John Adam's words are just as true now as they were then, Pauline.

Happy 4th of July to all who value freedom, liberty and independence!

Pauline said...

It is. Another man who put his life on the line for our freedom. Whether or not we appreciate it is an entirely different discussion.

Happy 4th to all. And stay strong, America.