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Happy birthday, Constitution!

Constitution Day
Constitution Day falls on September 17th of each year; this year it is on Wednesday of this week. This day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine men on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign this document they had created. Pierce Butler, C. Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, and John Rutledge were the four signers from South Carolina.
For over two centuries, the United States Constitution has stood as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms, and inalienable rights. This 4400 word document is the oldest and shortest written constitution of any major government in the world.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is a non-profit, non-political, volunteer women’s service organization. It was founded on October 11, 1890. DAR members are dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism in communities across the nation.
This celebration of the Constitution was started by the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into public law on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In 1928, the Daughters began work on a building as a memorial to the Constitution. John Russell Pope, architect of the Jefferson Memorial, was commissioned to design the performing arts center, known as DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The cornerstone was laid by Mrs. Calvin Coolidge on October 30, 1928, using the trowel President George Washington used to lay the cornerstone at the Capitol in 1793. Mrs. Herbert Hoover was the guest speaker at the formal dedication. Today, DAR Constitution Hall is the only structure erected in tribute to the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Preamble includes phrases that are familiar.to us. “We the People of the United State, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Daniel Webster said, “We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land – not, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. The chart is the Constitution.”
Happy birthday to our Constitution!

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Old Ironsides

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Thomas H. Emory, John’s grandfather, was stationed on Old Ironsides on the maintenance crew before the Spanish-American War..

This is the oldest navy ship still in commission. It is made of live oak siding cut from trees on St. Simon’s Island. It was outfitted with 24 pound cannons; British ships only had 18.

During the War of 1812, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerrière in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shot merely bounced off the Constitution’s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. By the war’s end, Old Ironsides destroyed or captured seven more British ships. The success of the USS Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous boost in morale for the young American republic.

The Constitution was one of six frigates that Congress requested be built in 1794 to help protect American merchant fleets from attacks by Barbary pirates and harassment by British and French forces. It was constructed in Boston, and the bolts fastening its timbers and copper sheathing were provided by the industrialist and patriot Paul Revere. Launched on October 21, 1797, the Constitution was 204 feet long, displaced 2,200 tons, and was rated as a 44-gun frigate (although it often carried as many as 50 guns).

It is interesting that all four of Thomas Emory’s grandsons served in the US Navy; perhaps it was the stories he told about his adventures.

Here is a beautiful picture of this ship taken in 1881.

You can still visit and walk the decks of this famous frigate in Boston Harbor. That sounds like a worthwhile field trip to me.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am interested in ships and/or our navy. I am writing a short story about Tom’s wife Julie and thought this connection was a back story worth visiting, particularly since John refers to his Grandpa and his sea travels quite frequently. The tales of family and history continue to be intertwined; they are fascinating to me. (Mayhap you can tell!)