USS Constitution to fire 21-gun salute, host Facebook Live Memorial Day commemoration

USS Constitution fires off a 40 mm 200 gram round from one of her saluting batteries. Constitution fires one round from her saluting battery twice a day to signify morning and evening colors. (Navy photograph by PO1 Joshua Hammond)

To commemorate Memorial Day, USS Constitution will host a Facebook live event honoring USS Constitution’s fallen crew members at 11:30 a.m. and will fire a salute of 21 minute-guns at noon, May 25, 2020.

A commemoration will be hosted live on the ship’s Facebook page to honor all past crew members who died while serving aboard USS Constitution during her active sailing years of 1798 to 1881:

“USS Constitution is undefeated in battle, having captured or destroyed 33 enemy vessels, but that did not come without a significant cost,” said Cmdr. John Benda. “This ship is truly a battlefield like Gettysburg or Normandy, and we will never forget the sacrifice of the Sailors who perished on these decks in the defense of our nation.”

Navy regulation directs all ships in the Navy, with a saluting battery, to fire gun salutes once a minute for 21 minutes beginning at noon to recognize Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, the U.S. flag flies at half-staff in the morning, and is raised to full height following the 21-gun salute, a custom honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the morning and living veterans for the rest of the day.

USS Constitution, is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, and played a crucial role in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812.

During normal operations, the active-duty Sailors stationed aboard USS Constitution provide free tours and offer public visitation to more than 600,000 people a year as they support the ship’s mission of promoting the Navy’s history and maritime heritage and raising awareness of the importance of a sustained naval presence.

The ship earned the nickname of Old Ironsides during the war of 1812 when British cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull.

The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the stories of “Old Ironsides” and those associated with her.

The Museum has also temporarily closed and is currently providing a hands-on, minds-on environment digitally during this time of physical distancing.

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