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WEST SENECA, N.Y. -- Sailors assigned to USS Constitution taught early U.S. Navy history to students at West Elementary School in West Seneca, N.Y., Sept. 10.
Constitution Sailors gave an interactive historical presentation to more than 120 fifth grade students as part of Buffalo Navy Week taking place Sept. 10-17.
"The level of knowledge and interest exhibited by the fifth graders was impressive," said Geiser. "Their curiosity and fearless engagement of us and the historical significance of Constitution and her role in winning the War of 1812 was incredibly rewarding."
Students learned about the creation of the Navy, Constitution's construction, her famous battle with HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812 and the mission of today's Navy as it relates to the past.
"I think it's thrilling to have authentic Sailors come to tell the students about the USS Constitution," said Anne Reukauf, a fifth grade teacher at West Elementary School. "I know the children were very excited. They have been reading up on a few things the past few days about the War of 1812. This presentation gave the students a better idea on the events of the war, having the Sailors here, instead of just reading text or watching a video."
Constitution Sailors undergo 20 weeks of naval history training as soon as they check on board, along with additional weekly training.
"It was great how we were able to share the history that we learn about USS Constitution with the students," said Thormodson. "Knowing what I do now about Constitution, I wish I was granted the opportunity to learn about the ship while I was in elementary school."
Buffalo Navy Week is the seventh of eight Navy weeks Constitution Sailors are scheduled to participate in throughout 2012. Buffalo Navy Week will commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and The Star Spangled Banner with U.S. Navy ship visits and special events recognizing America's Navy for keeping the sea free for more than 200 years.
The primary purpose of Navy week is to increase Navy awareness by presenting the Navy to Americans who live in cities that normally do not have a significant naval presence. Buffalo Navy Week will showcase the mission, capabilities and achievements of the U.S. Navy and provide residents the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand.
Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today's Navy.
Constitution's mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship's history.