National Parks of Boston Hosts Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Charlestown Navy Yard on Dec. 7

Special to the Independent

The National Parks of Boston will host a gathering of remembrance at the USS Constitution Museum followed by a wreath-laying ceremony on the World War II-era destroyer USS Cassin Young to remember and honor those who perished in the December 7, 1941 attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. USS Cassin Young was named in honor of U.S. Naval Commander Cassin Young, who received honors for his actions during the Pearl Harbor attack.

December marks the 80th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Cassin Young. On Thursday, December 7, this free three-part public program will be held in the Charlestown Navy Yard starting at 11:30 a.m. with lunch and a speaking program at the USS Constitution Museum, followed by an outdoor ceremony beside USS Cassin Young, and concluding with warm beverages at the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center. Lunch is provided by the Mayor’s Office for Veterans’ Services and Boston Harbor Now is sponsoring the beverages. Ceremony speakers include National Parks of Boston Superintendent Michael Creasey, USS Constitution Commander Billie J. Farrell, USS Constitution Museum President & CEO Anne Grimes Rand, Massachusetts Executive Office of Veterans Services Secretary Jon Santiago, and Boston Commissioner of Veterans’ Services Robert Santiago. State and city elected officials will be among the attendees, along with veterans and USS Cassin Young volunteers. The program will include the USS Constitution and Flying Leatherneck Honor Society Color Guards and rifle and cannon salutes from both USS Cassin Young and USS Constitution.

USS Cassin Young was named for U.S. Navy Commander Cassin Young, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his distinguished and heroic actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor, which initiated the United States’ entry into World War II. As commanding officer of USS Vestal, which was moored to USS Arizona, Cmdr. Young took personal command of his ship’s three-inch antiaircraft gun at the beginning of the attack. When the forward magazine of Arizona was hit, Cmdr. Young was thrown overboard and incredibly swam back to his ship amidst burning oil on the water between the two ships. Despite the subsequent bombing of Vestal, Cmdr. Young moved his ship away from Arizona to save the ship and countless lives. USS Cassin Young has similarly served the country with distinction.

It was built in San Pedro, California, typical of the many Fletcher-class destroyers serviced in the Charlestown Navy Yard during World War II. The ship was commissioned at the end of 1943 and first saw action in the Pacific Theatre in 1944. It took part in the landings in the Philippines, rescued survivors from the stricken carrier USS Princeton, screened the American force that sank four Japanese carriers in the battle of Cape Engano, and survived two separate kamikaze hits, one of which killed 21 crew members. No stranger to Charlestown, the ship was recalled to service in 1951 and underwent modernization at the shipyard on several occasions during the next decade before finally hauling down its commissioning pennant in 1960.

“On this day of remembrance and reflection, the National Parks of Boston is proud to honor the service people of the United States Navy past and present, and share the history of USS Cassin Young with visitors from around the world,” said National Parks of Boston Superintendent Michael Creasey.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day marks the beginning of a weekend of programs and events related to the U.S. Navy and Armed Forces. On December 8, Navy midshipmen and Army cadets compete in “Patriot Games” around the city, which includes a relay race from the Charlestown Navy Yard to Bunker Hill Monument and back. Later that evening, USS Constitution hosts its annual tree lighting ceremony. The 2023 Army-Navy Game takes place at Gillette Stadium on December 9.

The National Parks of Boston is a collection of three National Park Service sites – Boston National Historical Park, Boston African American National Historic Site, and Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. Established by individual legislation and for designated purposes, the three units have come together under a unified organizational umbrella to collaborate in ways that celebrate our cultural heritage, reconnect people to history and nature, and provide outdoor recreation opportunities on land and on the water. For more information, visit:,, and

The USS Constitution, America’s Ship of State, is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat and played a crucial role in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, actively defending sea lanes from 1797 to 1855. USS Constitution was undefeated in battle and destroyed or captured 33 opponents. The ship earned the nickname of Old Ironsides during the War of 1812 when British cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull. The active-duty Sailors stationed aboard USS Constitution provide free tours and offer public visitation as they support the ship’s mission of promoting the Navy’s history and maritime heritage and raising awareness of the importance of a sustained naval presence. For information, visit

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