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Bicentennial of the War of 1812

'Old Ironsides' Fired Up for OpSail 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (NNS) -- USS Constitution's color guard peformed the opening ceremony at an event for the Virginia Commission on the War of 1812 Bicentennial at the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Va., Jan. 25.

The color guard was invited by the non-profit organization, Operation Sail, Inc. (OpSail), who sponsored the event.

Constitution, as a tall ship, intends to fully participate in OpSail 2012, pending a structural inspection of a three-year restoration period completed in November of 2010.

"Our presence from the oldest commissioned warship afloat shows how excited we are for OpSail," said Seaman Ashley West, USS Constitution. "I am proud to teach and share the history of the War of 1812."

OpSail 2012 will commemorate the War of 1812 Bicentennial with other tall ships, naval vessels and the Blue Angels holding demonstrations throughout 2012 in New Orleans, Baltimore, Boston and Norfolk, Va.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was a speaker at the event, discussed the budget and expectancy of a significant job-creation and economic-development driver, generating worldwide recognition and visibility of history to the young and old.

The OpSail of Virginia was started to support educational, historical and research projects, activities in communities, military/civilian cooperative projects, marketing development and tourism. The remaining ports have coincident plans along with sharing history and the investment in the Navy.

"Having USS Constitution crew members present at these types of events is symbolic of the Navy's commitment to the 1812 Bicentennial," said Cmdr. Tim Cooper, USS Constitution's 71st commanding officer. "Additionally, it allows people who may not have an opportunity to visit Boston and see the ship, to interact with our Sailors."

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. The ship welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.

For more information on Constitution, visit www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ussconstitutionofficial.

For more news from USS Constitution, visit www.navy.mil/local/constitution/.

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