By Rachel Holt

BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time in over a year, the USS Constitution cruised around Boston Harbor on Friday.

“Our last underway was in October of 2019 and it feels like Constitution is alive again to be out on the water,” said Captain Elliott Fabrizio, USS Constitution Operations Department Head.

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Pretty cool for crew members and spectators alike.

“Well this is my first underway. So it’s pretty exciting to me. I’ve never really been in the water like this this long, so it’s pretty cool,” said Airman Melanie Santos, one of the crew members onboard the ship.

One of the highlights of the day was a 21-gun salute viewable from Castle Island.


“Saw a lot of people out there ready to welcome us out there as we fired, a lot of waves and a lot of smiles back,” said Commander John Benda, the 76th commanding officer of USS Constitution.

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USS Constitution will reopen to the public for the first time in six months, so Friday was a celebration of being able to welcome people back on board the historic warship.

The ship briefly reopened to tours last year, but Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. marked the return of normal public visitation. Regular hours will be Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I feel very honored to be here because there’s a lot of rich history that I’ve learned about, and just being able to continue the legacy of being a crew member on board is very rewarding,” said Airman Megan Kearns.

The day also featured climbing and gun demonstrations, as well as an additional 17-gun salute passing U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boston.

“This ship is over 223 years old. Sailors have fought and died on this ship so that America could have the freedoms that we have. And when you step aboard it’s a feeling that’s indescribable,” said Captain Fabrizio.

“The crew like me is very excited to get to do what we do best. And that’s be out on the ship sailing. This is what sailors are born to do. And naval officers. We’re really good at telling the story of the USS Constitution and the legacy of Old Ironsides,” said Commander Benda.

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USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat.

Rachel Holt