Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Orleans Gives the U.S.S. New York a Send-off Befitting Her Heritage

The master shipbuilders at Avondale, Louisiana, have crafted an emotional work of art and might: the U.S.S. New York.

In a labor of love, the artisans began construction in 2004 on the 684-foot amphibious transport dock ship. This morning -- on a fog-shrouded Mississippi River -- she began her maiden voyage to her namesake City for commissioning into the United States Navy. Thousands of southeast Louisianians lined the River to bid her "fair winds and following seas;" she was saluted with two separate 21-gun salutes, hundreds of fluttering American flags, and musical tributes.

Northrup-Grumman's Avondale shipyard has produced countless ships for our mighty military over the years, so what makes this particular transport vessel so remarkable?

She has already known adversity, this gray beauty -- during her construction, she weathered Hurricanes Katrina (and its aftermath), Ike, and Gustav. But she's also a survivor -- incorporated into her bow stem are about 7 1/2 tons of steel from the New York World Trade Center, felled during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our nation.

As an unofficial Honor Guard, near the starting line of her voyage a swarm of police and emergency vehicles flashed their lights in honor of the 343 firefighters and police officers who died in the World Trade Center. Through the steel in her bow, commemorating the thousands of innocents and heroes who unexpectedly lost their lives on that clear September morn, she's already blessed by scores of Guardian Angels. Even so, we add our blessing to theirs.

Bon voyage, New York; may you know fair winds and following seas indeed.

1 comment:

  1. That is such a cool photo... one wishes it were larger.