Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day USS New York made me proud

Back on the train on a Tuesday morning and I’m feeling beat. I went for a run this morning which transitioned into a morning walk. I have to get into my head to eat lightly the night before. I feel the mass of digested food pushing down inside my kidneys. With the humidity the only break from the run is a good walk, but this morning there were so many breaks…so lesson, eat less the night before or go the bathroom before the run, I would be lighter and able to maintain some semblance of speed.
Yesterday was Memorial Day. Instead of sleeping in we woke up early in the morning. It was raining when we left a house, a passing storm the weather experts predicted and were correct. Joe my father-in-law drove us, who included my son Joe and daughters Emma, and Isabella into Staten Island to see the USS New York and other Navy ships. It used to be a tradition to ride into Staten Island where as Joe my father-in-law explained there are smaller crowds compared to Manhattan. In fact one year, we went in with my brother-in-law Phil to tour the frigate he used to work in, the Klakring. That was a rarity, and Phil had the opportunity to bring his son, Joseph on-board.
This year was different since the New York which holds 7 tons of metal from the World Trade Towers in its hull drew a crowd. It’s the only Navy ship I have a picture of in my office.
We arrived around 10. Already the parking outside the gates was packed. From what we read it would be limited to 2,000 visitors on the New York. By the time we arrived the crowd must have approached 500. At first we toured a Coast Guard vessel, which was interesting, we saw how they manage our buoys and learned more about their responsibilities, protecting our shores. The men and women on-board were very pleasant, and answered the kid’s questions.
We waited outside the New York for about twenty minutes, and finally we boarded the large vessel. Men and women saluted the officer on deck. I was amazed how large the ship was and impressed with our military capabilities. The men and women all of them seemed passionate and took their jobs very seriously.
The oldest serviceman we met was thirty, most of these men and women are in their early twenties. The USS New York ship could hold more than 1,000 marines. There were demonstrations where the kids could hold actual guns and go inside some of the military vehicles. On the deck we were allowed to go inside the helicopters and the crews were very friendly. By the time we left the crowd, more than a thousand (maybe two thousand) were snaked around the dock. I hope everyone got a chance to board, if not I’d recommend - next year getting their earlier.

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