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USS Constitution sails under own power

Aug. 19, 2012 at 5:58 PM

BOSTON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The USS Constitution set sail Sunday for only the second time in 131 years as thousands of onlookers cheered in South Boston, U.S. Navy officials said.

The ship sailed under its own power to mark the 200th anniversary of its victory over the British frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812, a press release from the U.S. Navy said.

"I cannot think of a better way to honor those who fought in the war as well as celebrate Constitution's successes during the War of 1812 than for the ship to be under sail," said Cmdr. Matt Bonner, Constitution's 72nd commanding officer.

The ship last set sale in 1997 for Marblehead's 200th anniversary, The Boston Globe reported.

The Constitution was towed out to a point between Castle Island and Deer Island where about 200 sailors unfurled four of its sails. The ship sailed out into open waters for about 10 minutes and fired its cannons before making its way back to Castle Island, The Globe reported.

"Once again, Boston well shows her history," said Ken Smith, 47, of Cambridge.

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