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First Lady Christens U.S.S. Illinois In Groton

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Michelle Obama was in Groton, Connecticut this weekend. She christened a nuclear-powered submarine built at the General Dynamics Electric Boat factory. The submarine’s called the U.S.S. Illinois. It shares a name with Obama’s home state.

Obama smashed a bottle of champagne across the hull Saturday morning. That’s a traditional way to christen a ship that goes back to the 1800s. It’s meant to bring good luck.

Since the 1800s, women have traditionally performed the christening ceremony on a submarine or other ship. Other first ladies have also christened submarines, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton.

It took General Dynamics about five years to build the submarine. It cost more than $2 billion. Obama congratulated workers at the ceremony for building what she called a technological wonder with the most advanced sonar and communications systems of any ship in the navy.

“I love that my adopted boat is the overachiever of the fleet,” she said. “I like that. And I’m just blown away by the things you all can do.”

The U.S.S. Illinois goes to sea for the first time in December with a crew of more than 100 sailors.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.