Old North Church Hosts Blessing of Sails Ceremony
BOSTON (NNS) — Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and coalition service members attached to U.S. and coalition ships participating in Boston Navy Week 2012 attended a Blessing of the Sails ceremony held at the Old North Church, July 1.
The ceremony is a time-honored tradition Old North Church performs annually, this year blessing more than just the tall ships.
“Today we celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 – 200 years of uninterrupted peace between England and America,” said Rev. Stephen Ayers, the 23rd vicar of Old North. “We can celebrate the tall ships and nations round the world gathered here today and ask for God’s blessing for the assembly of naval and tall ships in Boston Harbor.”
Old North is the oldest active standing church in Boston and the site where Paul Revere’s legend is forever enshrined. It was at this church that two lanterns were lit from the steeple to alert American revolutionaries the British were advancing by sea, leading Revere to make his infamous midnight ride shouting, “The British are coming, the British are coming!”
“The Blessing of the Sails is always a special time here, however this year’s ceremony is different,” said Ayers. “Since this year marks the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, we are able to reflect on that war, and have the Sailors that permit our nations to live in peace with each other come together as one and learn about the history of the church.”
After the ceremony, service members were invited to tour the grounds of the church and walk up to the steeple where the two lanterns were lit during the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
“This was quite the experience,” said Aviation Ordnancemen 1st Class (AW) Andre Bailey, who represented amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) as one of the honorary color guard. “This is my second time in Boston, and my first time here at the church. Just being able to go to the very top of the steeple was like walking back in time.”
“It was awesome. I was able to see Wasp from there and look at a contract that Paul Revere had made.”
A celebration of the nation’s sea services, Boston Navy Week provides an opportunity for the citizens of Boston and New England to meet Sailors, Marines and Coastguardsmen, as well as see the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services firsthand.
Boston Navy Week is one of many signature events around the country commemorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is a salute to all Sailors and Marines who fought gallantly in that conflict, who served in all our nation’s conflicts since then, and who continue defending freedom around the world today.
Since winning independence in 1776, the United States has been a maritime nation, relying on unobstructed access and free use of the world’s oceans, which are essential to our national security and prosperity. The performance of America’s Sailors and Marines in the War of 1812 set the standards upon which our naval forces continue to build today.
For more information, visit the official Boston Navy Week website at www.bostonnavyweek.com or search “Boston Navy Week” on Facebook.
Article source: http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=68217
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