“Old Ironsides” is the nickname of the three-masted frigate USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship in the world still afloat.Muslim Barbary Pirates of North Africa had captured the American ships Polly, Betsey, Maria, Dauphin, and Philadelphia.The USS Constitution was sent to fight the Muslim pirates in
the First Barbary War, 1803,
the Battle of Tripoli Harbor, 1804, and
the Battle of Derne, 1805.
When the USS Constitution returned, Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “When the Warrior Returns from the Battle Afar,” published in Boston’s Independent Chronicle, December 30, 1805.
Key wrote it to the same tune which nine years later he used for the Star-Spangled Banner:
In conflict resistless each toil they endur’d
The USS Constitution sailed against the British in the War of 1812 and caught slave traders off the coast of Africa in the 1850’s.
The USS Constitution was about to be decommissioned and broken into scrap when it was saved by a poem titled “Old Ironsides,” written by poet, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.:
“Her deck, once red with heroes’ blood,
As dean of the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., was known for proposing that diseases were spread person to person, a theory which predated the discovery of germs.
Dr. Holmes tried to admit the first African-Americans and the first woman to Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Holmes invented the “American stereoscope,” which was a 19th century hand held device to view 3-D pictures.
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., wrote a poem about Pilgrim pastor John Robinson of Leyden, published in “The Professor at the Breakfast Table,” 1860:
“Before the Speedwell’s anchor swung,
‘Ye go to bear the saving Word
Dr. Holmes’ son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was born MARCH 8, 1841.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., graduated from Harvard and enlisted in the Army against his father’s wishes.
He was injured in the Civil War three times, including a gunshot wound to the chest at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, October 1861.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., edited the American Law Review, was a Harvard Law professor, and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt appointed Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Known as “The Great Dissenter” for of his unconventional opinions advocating broad freedom of speech, he served over 30 years, to a more advanced age than any other Justice.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., replied to a reporter on his 90th birthday, MARCH 8, 1931:
“Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God.”
For God’s Glory Alone Ministries thanks Bill Federer and www.AmericanMinute.com