The old Charlestown Naval Yard near Boston Harbor isn’t what it used to be: what with service drawdowns and all, much of the old yard has been repurposed for civilian purposes. One thing continues, however: USS Constitution, the nation’s oldest commissioned naval vessel, known fondly to some of us as Old Ironsides, continues to fire a single cannon blast twice a day, once at 8 am, once at sunset, letting the people of Boston know that the harbor is secure.
Bostonians with a sense of history appreciate this sort of thing. Then there are the other ones:
Miffed residents of a posh condo complex have invited the commanding officer of the USS Constitution over for a glass of wine so he can hear for himself that the frigate’s twice-daily cannon blasts a tradition dating to 1798 are “more disruptive to the neighborhood than you might have imagined.”
Hello, McFly? Were you not aware when you bought your little love shack and its precious ocean view that this practice was in effect? The tourists you no doubt scorn are quite aware of it. “It’s as much a part of Boston as the Red Sox and Cheers,” said the ship’s public-information spokesman.
In an earlier time, I suppose, they’d have complained that people were putting up lights late at night in the Old North Church.