By Michelle Sinclair
On Sunday, August 19, Somerville’s Winter Hill Yacht Club’s Commodore Bill Rogers, along with Somerville’s Council of Aging Director Cindy Hickey, President Juan Gallego, and Past President Ken Webber from the Chelsea Rotary, hosted a Veterans Parade for the Somerville COA Veterans along with the veterans from the Chelsea Soldiers home.
Over sixty veterans turned out to parade on Boston Harbor on nine boats operated by volunteers from WHYC. The parade was escorted by Officer Jack Chapin from the Massachusetts Environmental Police who lead the boat parade flotilla of veterans to view the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor sail historically under her own sails.
The USS Constitution is the U.S. Navy’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. It is the second time that it sailed under its own power since the ship turned 200 years old in 1997.
The historic trip marked the day two centuries ago when the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812 and earned her nickname “Old Ironsides.”
Following the two hour parade, the veterans returned to Somerville’s Winter Hill Yacht Club to share their stories of the parade and express their gratitude for witnessing history while many volunteers cooked and served them an old fashion barbeque lunch.
Somerville resident and U.S. Army Veteran Joe Piro, who turned 102 on July 2, participated in his second veterans cruise out of WHYC. Joe said that “he can’t wait to turn 103 so he can cruise again next year.”
On the opposite side of Boston Harbor, Dorchester’s Old Colony Yacht Club volunteers took approximately seventy hospitalized veterans from the Bedford and Brockton area to view the USS Constitution on fifteen Boats organized by club member Bill Moran.
Their parade was escorted by the Quincy Police, the Boston Police and the Boston Pilot boat. Following their parade the veterans enjoyed a lunch donated by the Piccola Venezia Restaurant located in Boston’s historic North End.
~Photos by Michelle Sinclair