WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 71 of 195

History Is Us Another vital outcome of the war was enhanced patriotism. The military victory at New Orleans, where Andrew Jackson and his troops successfully decimated a British army trying to take the city, took place simultaneously with the arrival of the news of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, creating the impression of an overall American military vic- tory despite the fact that the Treaty, which ended the fighting, had been signed weeks before. In the minds of Americans it did not matter: they had stood up to the British, yet again, and had emerged with pride. Several important icons materialized during this time that have shaped our national identity. America's successful defense of Fort McHenry inspired the lyrics of our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner." The image of First Lady Dolley Madison saving valuables from the President's Mansion, just before the British burned it to the ground, bonded diverse regions' interests. Old Ironsides her- self became a revered symbol of the country's strength and ingenuity. Today the iconic ship is permanently berthed in the Boston Harbor Visiting Old Ironsides Anytime is a good time to visit Old Ironsides and the USS Constitution Museum, but this summer is an especially good time as there are many special events planned for the bicentennial. During Boston Harborfest, which runs from June 28 until July 1, Old Ironsides will set sail from its berth at Pier 1 in the former Charlestown Navy Yard to Castle Island. Active-duty Navy sailors have been working for months to be able to climb the rigging of the 18th century frigate like the seasoned tall ship sailors of yesteryear so that the beloved ship will be able to set sail under her own power on July 4. Surrounded by US Navy ships, an international fleet of Tall Ships, and with the US Navy's Blue Angels flying overhead, the USS Constitution will salute the nation and fire her 21-gun salute. On August 18, the USS Constitution will travel to communities across the country in the form of a new "forever" stamp upon which her image is fea- tured. Watch for it! The USS Constitution Museum is one of the stops on Boston's Freedom Trail. For a full day's fun in the Navy Yard, families can borrow a "Seabag Discovery Kit," free of charge, which the Museum has created in conjunction with the National Park Service. Filled with story starters, maps, and other curiosity-sparking materials, the backpacks prompt fun, exploration, and learning. To observe first hand how Navy warships have changed over time, tour the USS Cassin Young, a World War II-era destroyer, which is also berthed in the shipyard. at the former Charlestown Naval Yard. A fully commissioned ship, she has a dedicated crew of 60 active-duty US Navy sailors and officers who educate the public about life in the Navy and aboard this historic vessel. Through free guided tours of the ship's spar, gun, and berth decks, visi- tors gain a deeper appreciation for the challenging and highly commit- ted life of a sailor in the early 19th century. What is more, guests have the opportunity to interact with active duty members of the service. William Martin, Weston resident and writer of historical fiction, credits a visit to Old Ironsides with his father when he was in fourth grade for sparking his interest in history. As he wrote in his book, Annapolis, "I never forget the sense of awe that I felt when I descended to the gun deck and saw those great black cannon… I went running from gun to gun, fighting an imaginary battle of my own…" Years later he would return to the shipyard to conduct research for Annapolis, and he would ultimately join the Board of the USS ConstitutionMuseum located only steps away from Old Ironsides herself. "Any time that you can allow people to experience the textures and details of the people that have proceeded them, so that they can appreci- 70 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012 PHO T OS BY GREG M. COOPER

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