a famous US Navy ship. Its popular name is 'Old Ironsides' because bullets could not pierce its strong oak sides. It was completed in 1797 in Boston and used in the War of 1812. When the ship was old there were plans to destroy it, but Oliver Wendell Holmes's poem Old Ironsides (1828) created strong public feeling against the decision and it was saved. The Constitution has been open to the public in Boston since 1934. In 1997 it sailed for the first time in 116 years, to celebrate its 200th birthday.