Saturday, November 07, 2009

And Of Course Obama Is MIA ::: With pride, sadness USS New York comes 'to life'

Bambi was quick to remind us that he's Commander in Chief just two days ago. But whatever.

Shortly after noon Saturday, a command rang out at Pier 86 in Manhattan: "Bring the ship to life."

With that, crew members in dress blues ran to stand at attention at the rails, radar antennas on the America's newest warship began to turn, black smoke poured from three funnels, sirens rang and the horn blared. And the USS New York - docked across the water at Pier 88 - became part of the active U.S. Navy fleet.

It was a ceremony evoking emotion, pride and patriotism and full of references to Sept. 11 - hardly surprising given that the 684-foot amphibious assault vessel's bow incorporates 7.5 tons of the steel skeletons of the World Trade Center towers.

It was also a ceremony full of dignitaries, from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to Gov. David Paterson to keynote speaker Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said "This ship carries memories of Sept. 11 and the lives cut short." She called the vessel "a symbol of our unshakable resolve."

The ceremony began at 11 a.m. sharp with the ship's executive officer, Cmdr. Erich Schmidt, stating that "today our ship is complete."

The ship's chaplain, the Rev. Laura Bender of Lake Ronkonkoma, one of about 10 Long Islanders in the crew of 359, asked for a moment of silence "for those whose lives were changed" by Sept. 11. She said of the ship "she is not only the Navy's newest ship, she is a symbol of the strength and resolve of our nation."

Paterson recalled that it was at the same spot on the pier adjacent to the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum seven years ago that then Navy Secretary Gordon England, now a deputy Defense secretary, announced that the ship would be named for the Empire State.

"This is a great day for everyone who believes in freedom and justice," Paterson said. Referring to the roughly 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11, the governor said "their spirit is embodied in this new ship."

With Twin Towers steel in the bow, Paterson said, "it is not just named for New York. It is New York."

He said as the ship travels the world, "we're sending a message that Americans are not cowered by evil."

Current Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said "today we witness the birth of another memorial to liberty." He praised the ship's inaugural crew - known as 'plank owners' in navy jargon - as people whose "legacy will live on" and others serve aboard over the ship's estimated 40-year life span.

"The murderers of 9/11 thought they would bring us down," Mabus said. "The New York is a visible demonstration of our resilience as a people. The New York is America's ship."


Since we've been on the topic... can you imagine the speech Bush would have made there? Guess this was another situation where Obama wouldn't have had the opportunity to focus on himself but instead on that weird word... uh, "liberty".

With pride, sadness USS New York comes 'to life'

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