Naval and state officials mark 200th anniversary of War of 1812 in Boston Harbor ceremony

Old and new crossed paths in South Boston today as six jets with the US Navy Blue Angels streaked over the USS Constitution, the Navy’s oldest ship, during a ceremony to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

“Our naval heritage will not only persevere — it will continue to prevail,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told a crowd of active duty service people and civilians on the deck of the USS Wasp, as the Constitution passed behind him.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The ceremony, the highlight of Boston’s Navy Week, also featured a demonstration from the Navy SEALS Leap Frogs, who parachuted onto Fan Pier, one carrying an 800-square-foot American flag.

Afterward, performances on board the USS Wasp included the musical stylings of the USO Liberty Bells, a trio of boogie-woogie singers in mid-century-style red, white, and blue minidresses.

Jennifer Fahey, 41, of Dorchester said that while July Fourth in Boston is always a day packed with exciting events, the addition of Navy Week and the tall ships festival was an extra treat.

“It’s been spectacular,” Fahey said. “This year we’re absolutely pulling out all the stops.”

Whytnee Bush, 24, of Brookline said experiencing the Fourth of July on the deck of an imposing naval ship was a helpful reminder of the meaning of the holiday.

“It made me feel really American,” Bush said. “When they played the Star-Spangled Banner, it really brings you back to the history of this country. It all felt uniquely American.”