Below the Chapel is a crypt that contains the burial place of Captain John Paul Jones, (1747-1792) U.S. Revolutionary War hero.
Captain Jones’s badly damaged "USS Bonhomme Richard" forced the British vessel, "H.M.S. Serapis" to surrender in one of the war’s most exciting battles. He is considered the father of our modern day Navy and his famous words, "I have not yet begun to fight!" Are the U.S. Navy’s watch words.
This summer a group from the class of 1955 undertook the project of cleaning and refurbishing the Crypt and it is now improved and sparkling. As is sometimes possible, the Crypt will be closed for this year's (2005)Thanksgiving holiday and is listed as HIGH PRIORITY so, check the U.S. Naval Academy website for updated info before you arrive for a tour.
Visit the Naval Academy and the John Paul Jones Tomb.
The purpose of our visit was the chapel in which there is the John Paul Jones vault.
Fondest memory: John Paul Jones is considered as the father of the US navy during the American Revolution. With a small fleet, he brought the war at the door of England, in the North Sea.
Between his officers was the lieutenant Pierre Frederic Blondel de Bellebrongue, a Swiss, my wife's ancester, who served on the Frigate Pallas. She participated to the famous Bonhomme Richard Battle and after to have defeated a British ship, Blondel came on board of the Bonhomme to help John Paul Jones.
TO SEE MORE AND TO KNOW THE STORY OF THE COMMODORE JONES : GO TO THE TRAVELOGUE
Since the midshipmen are prohibited from being married while at the Academy, many of them get married immediately after graduation.
If they opt for a formal wedding in uniform and have groomsmen who are also in uniform, they can leave the chapel under an arch of swords like this couple is doing. The weddings start right after graduation, and are on a killing schedule - in and out in a very short period of time - then the next couple comes in. I have been unable to find out exactly how long each couple has for their ceremony.
I was married on the Friday following Bob's Wednesday graduation at my home church in Towson.
The other item I remember about the chapel is that John Paul Jones is buried in a crypt in the 'basement'. You can get in to the tomb even during church services through a side entrance.
He died in France at age 45. His body lay in an alcohol filled coffin in an unmarked grave in a cemetery for foreign Protestants for over a century. Then in 1905, it was 'found' and brought back to the United States in USS Brooklyn.. Seven battleships met them off the American coast and as a single column sailed into Chesapeake Bay. There the first four battleships peeled off firing 15 gun salutes while the Brooklyn sailed on to Annapolis.
In 1913 his body was finally laid to rest in a magnificent marble sarcophagus, modelled on the tomb of Napoleon.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of the chapel is attending services. The windows in the chapel are by Tiffany. The midshipmen come to the services as a unit (attendance is not manditory), and hearing their choir sing. One of my favorite hymns is the Navy Hymn "Eternal Father Strong to Save"
The Naval Academy rules for being married at the chapel are as follows.
Weddings to be conducted in the United States Naval Academy Chapel are scheduled no more than one year in advance.
Use of the Chapel for weddings is limited to Naval Academy alumni , military staff and faculty members; active-duty military members assigned to Naval Station Annapolis and active-duty military personnel living in the immediate vicinity of the Chapel who also regularly attend Chapel services.
Arrangements for pre-marital counseling for Naval Academy alumni should be coordinated directly with the Academy chaplain assigned.
Traditionally, as the last group of diplomas is presented, the graduates sing "Navy Blue and Gold", the Oath of Office is administered and the National Anthem is played. The senior person of the new First (senior) Class leads three cheers for "those who are about to leave us", and the graduates, led by the class president, respond with three cheers "for those we leave behind us." On the last "hooray" of this cheer, the graduates toss their Midshipman caps into the air.
Fondest memory: This photo was taken inside the Field House, and I'm not sure if this building still exists.
Favorite thing: This is a nice little aerial view of Annapolis, taken across from the United States Naval Academy towards the town center. Unfortunatley I had to trade my airplane in for a daughter seven years ago and don't have the opportunities to take these shots any longer. If you can, get a small plane tour duirng your trip. The views of Annapolis, the great Cheasapeake Bay and the Bay Bridge are world class and absolutely unforgettable. Truly outstanding!!!
Favorite thing: visit the Naval Academy. The city is basically the Academy. It is a beautiful place rich in history and a storied tradition. If you ever have the opportunity to see the graduation ceremonies, don't miss it.
Favorite thing: Plan to visit the United States Naval Academy. You'll see Naval Midshipmen in their uniforms all over the campus.