Monday, November 9, 2009

Rant #128: USS New York Welcomes the World

The eyes of the world were on New York City the past week.

First, the Yankees won the World Series on Wednesday, and had their ticket tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes on Friday.

But the real heroes--the real All-American heroes--did not take a back seat to any of this, as the USS New York was commissioned on Saturday after docking in New York last week.

The simple majesty of this ship is breathtaking, but even more so because of what it represents.

The ship represents New York City and our country post-9/11, the determination that we have to let nothing stand in our way, to pick ourselves up, even after the tragedy of those horrible terrorist attacks of eight years ago, and say, "We're not going to take it."

Not only is the 684-foot, $1 billion ship — built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Avondale Operations in Louisiana — the Navy’s newest landing platform dock (LPD) warship, but it is noteworthy for its link to or nation's “War on Terror.” Its bow stem includes seven-and-a-half tons of steel recovered from the mangled remains of the World Trade Center's twin towers, buildings which were destroyed during the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

Based on its link to history, the ship employs the motto "Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget."

Today, I had the pleasure of visiting the ship, and writing about its ship's store--the mini convenience store that provides a "taste of home" for the hundreds of crew members who call this ship home. I had to go through the bowels of the ship to get to the store, and I must say, it is very impressive--I got a view of the ship that the public doesn't get, and I am grateful to the Navy and the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) for enabling me to visit the ship.

If you have not yet visited the ship, it is open to the public for a few more days. After that, it heads back to its homeport, Norfolk, Va., and then it will be directed for whatever use the Navy has planned for it.

I would say, if you could, get down and see this ship. It is truly breathtaking.

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