After 26 months in drydock, USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, and her crew headed underway for a three hour cruise from the ship’s berth in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on Oct. 20, in commemoration of the ship’s launching 220 years ago and the U.S. Navy’s 242nd birthday.
Constitution started boarding guests at 8 a.m., many of them family and friends of current crew members. Shortly after 10 a.m., with more than 349 guests in attendance, she departed her pier.
At 11:40 a.m., Constitution performed a 21-gun salute which was returned by the Concord Battery and 101st Field Artillery near Fort Independence on Castle Island. Fort Independence is a state park that served as a defensive position for Boston Harbor from 1634 to 1962.
The ship also fired an additional 17 shots at 12:15 p.m. as she passed U.S. Coast Guard Station Boston, the former site of the Edmund Hartt shipyard where Constitution was built.
Each round of this salute honored the 16 states that comprised America when Constitution launched in 1797, and one in honor of the ship.
The ship returned to her berthing, Pier 1 of the Charlestown Navy Yard, at 1 p.m.
More on Constitution‘s turnaround cruises through the years here.