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Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Back to Boston

Written on Sunday, June 14th, 2009 [permanent link]


In the first week of June, 2009, I went back to Boston with my sons for my 20th college reunion. The studying I did inside and outside the classroom really sharpened my love of history (I didn’t go to college planning to major in history — REALLY! But taking a few classes really sold me on it). I made sure that the bricks of Harvard Square weren’t the only bricks we hiked across . . .

Right after our flight landed, we hiked around downtown Boston. First stop: the Battle of Bunker Hill! Except that the monument stands on Breed’s Hill, which was the taller hill and better to defend. The Redcoats didn’t take Breed’s Hill until their third charge and paid a heavy price for this high ground. Which is now surrounded by very fancy townhomes. Samuel the Teenager bravely vowed to climb the 300 steps of the monument with his backpack on; I forebade it — and bravely volunteered to guard their backs at the bottom as they both went. They made it! And I didn’t!!!

Then we hiked down Breed’s Hill to the dock where the USS Constitution is being refurbished. Samuel instantly renamed “Old Ironsides” to be “Old Tarp Covering.”I learned a lot of things on our tour of the ship (which is still commissioned in the US Navy – it could go to war if we needed it!). Its guns recoil at 30 mph when fired. That’s a lot of recoil. So even when the captain calls for a “broadside,” they would fire only half the guns at once — firing all of them would tip the ship!

The USS Constitution is docked at what was the Charlestown Navy Yard until it closed in the early 1970s. We saw the drydocks created to clean up sailing ships but used all the way into the Cold War. I loved seeing the old cranes and equipment left at the dock. AND seeing what happens to history on waterfront property: the molding drydocks sit beneath old, smallish workshops of beautifully-worn brick, and both shipyard relics rest in the shadow of a giant new brick and glass condo!!!

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