VFW defends Constitution cannon firings
Some residents say they’re too noisy
By Maria Chutchian
The Boston Globe
November 13, 2009
Navy sailors readied a cannon drill set up by the USS Constitution museum in Charlestown.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars has voiced its opposition to a small group of Charlestown residents who have complained about the noise produced by the daily cannon blasts from the historic USS Constitution.
Coming to the defense of the tradition that has been in place since 1798, the VFW released a statement that brought to task the “ungrateful and selfish citizenry of [the Constitution’s] own nation.’’
The statement follows a week of controversy surrounding the 212-year-old vessel. In recent weeks, commanding officer Timothy Cooper has received several complaints about the noise and disruption the cannons cause. Some have suggested the blasts be eliminated on weekends and that the size of the gunpowder charge be reduced.
“That those [that the Constitution] protects would seek to silence her is incomprehensible to those of us who served our nation in times of war and times of peace,’’ the statement said. “It is another indicator that far too many take our freedom for granted and that they do not hold our service members and veterans in very high regard.’’
Several residents who live in condominiums near the Boston Navy Yard said that they do not mind the cannon blasts and that they are a welcome part of the neighborhood.
Lawrence Giannetti has lived in his condo on Chelsea Street for almost eight years and is used to hearing the blasts every morning and evening.
“It doesn’t bother me at all; in fact, I like hearing it,’’ he said last night. “I can look out my window and I can see that cannon is being shot, and it doesn’t bother me at all.’’
The VFW said in its statement that it feels the complaints are “convoluted and misguided.’’
“We know the true price of such gifts and, unlike our unappreciative brethren, take great pride in the fact that unlike they, we, as members of the armed forces have been educated in the greatest act of training that is often too much for many to bear,’’ the statement said.
“We hear [the cannons] all the time, but it doesn’t bother us at all,’’ said Janis Pacheco, who has lived on Chelsea Street for 7 1/2 years and can see the ship from her bedroom. “It’s loud, but you get used to it. I think it’s mostly the new people [who complain]. The rest of us have lived with it for years.’’