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USS Constitution returning to Marblehead? Maybe yes, maybe no.

April 12, 2012

The lofty, iconic ship sailed into Marblehead Harbor in 1812, chased by British Man-O’-Wars. And, then again, in 1997, she sailed into Marblehead Harbor, chased this time by the harbor’s yachts and kayaks by the dozen. In 1812 the ship was watched by Marblehead men at Fort Sewall who knew they only had one cannonball and who hoped it would be enough to scare the British off. In 1997 the ship was watched  from luncheon tables at the private and exclusive yacht clubs and homes of Marblehead Neck.

Now some of those people want to do it all over again a century later and 15 years later. “It’s a matter of logistics,” according to Frank Neely, the US Navy’s spokesman for USS Constitution operations and information. The ship is defintely up to traveling according to Neely. But no plans have been made.

Harry Christiansen, like a wet blanket, quickly started added up the pennies. “It’s still in the works,” but he thinks the cost of the event will be the final determining factor.1

Perhaps, though, we could hope that leadership will be the final determining factor. The Selectmen could  inform the Town thoughtfully and enlist the help of our state and federal respresentatives. With that coalition, it will be far more possible. The Selectmen might have to give up some control and some publicity moments, or at least share them, but what a small price that would be to bring USS Constitution back again.

The Selectmen could lead and share. Time will tell, as it always does in history.

  1. Salem News, Alan Burke, 4/11/12. p. 8 []

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