The USS Constitution Chairman’s Dinner is a prestigious event held to honor the Navy’s oldest commissioned ship. Attendees ranged from a few midshipmen to Medal of Honor recipient Thomas J. Hudner. The Constitution’s crew and her Captain were on hand as well to partake in the celebration of her near 200 years of service in the Fleet.
Launched on Oct. 21st, 1797, the USS Constitution went on to serve with distinction in both the Quasi War with France and the Barbary Wars. During each campaign the Constitution won every engagement it fought in. However, it was not until the War of 1812 that the USS Constitution cemented her place as the cornerstone of U.S. naval history for centuries to come. During the War of 1812, to the astonishment of both British and American personnel alike, the Constitution defeated four English warships. It was then, during her battle with the HMS Guerriere, that the USS Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” after it became clear that cannon balls were bouncing of her wooden hull. Since then, the USS Constitution has been the beneficiary of much public adoration, which to this day serves to keep her in service to the Fleet, and to the community.
Therefore, the Chairman’s Dinner is not only a way to raise awareness about the USS Constitution and her place in U.S. history, but is also intended to persuade the public to donate to the USS Constitution Museum. Being entirely non-profit and run solely off donated funds, the museum needs the public’s donations in order to keep itself operation. The museum is not solely focused on giving history lessons though. It is also committed to teaching children about math, physics, and history; all by examining what life would have been like 200 years ago if you were serving on the USS Constitution. Sponsors of the museum’s efforts include such big names as: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, Citizen’s Bank, and many others. With the continued generosity of these companies and the individual donations of many others, the USS Constitution Museum can continue to operate and give back to the community an important part of our history.
Written by MIDN 2/c Connor Fulton