Friday, May 8, 2015

The Constitution and Cassin Young

Canon from the USS Constitution
 The last two stops of the Freedom Trail were ones that really meant a lot to me since I had read some in depth history on both. The U.S.S. Constitution and Bunker Hill. I caught a water taxi the day after visiting Lexington which brought me to the Navel shipyard across the bay from Boston and only a stones throw from the Constitution. Only the night before as I did some research on what I planned to visit on this day did I learn that the Constitution had been shut down for tourism only three days earlier. She would have extensive work done on her and would be shut down for the next several months. Still I hoped I would be able to walk up to her side and take some nice pictures of her but alas, that was not to be. The above picture was as close as I could get and as you can see, she was well on her way to being stripped down with all her canons, masts, spars, rigging, etc having already been removed and laying on the dock.

USS Constitution
 My first exposure to the U.S.S. Constitution was while reading a book on the Barbary wars and the part she played in freeing hundreds of sailors being held hostage. I read other books about the War of 1812 and one on our first Navy of which she was one of six similar ships. Still after having read so many books about her, I was still impressed on the shear size even without all the masts and rigging in place. What a sight she would have been to behold. All I could do was walk around the blocked off construction area and take a picture of her stern using my telephoto lens.

USS Cassin Young
 Parked nearby was the U.S.S. Cassin Young which I had also read about indirectly in a number of books. She is named after a Medal of Honor recipient during the attack on Pearl Harbor and served during World War II. Being married to a native of the Philippines, I have read several books of the United States' ties to that country including our military ties. The U.S.S. Cassin Young played a vital part in the battle of Leyte Gulf which was our initial campaign to retake the islands back from the Japanese. During that time it withstood two hits by kamikaze planes and shot down scores of others that never quite made it. It wasn't hard to imagine someone sitting on the gun below shooting at planes as if if life depended on it. Since it was still a couple hours before it opened for tours, I went on and never came back for the tour. I have toured other World War II era ships though and on the inside, the are all pretty similar so I don't think I missed out on much.

Guns of the USS Cassin Young

USS Cassin Young
 On the last day of our trip to Boston, my wife had a meeting scheduled on a yacht for an evening harbor cruise. I had thought we might be heading out into the outer parts of the harbor but instead we headed towards the inner harbor along the same path as the water taxi I had taken earlier in the week. The only difference was the yacht went past where the USS Constitution and USS Cassin Young were moored before turning around which let me get a few photos of both boats from the bay sides. In the picture below, you can see the USS Constitution in the foreground and the obelisk monument in the background that marked my last stop of the Freedom Trail, Bunker Hill.

USS Constitution

No comments: