Sunday, November 07, 2010

An Old Acquaintance Is Mentioned... The Charlotte Observer.

I served onboard the Wainwright for about a month in 1982, as we took part in a training exercise in the Gulf of Mexico, with a port visit to Pensacola, Florida.

I'm sorry to read that she ended her days as a target for ships from the Royal Navy; if ships had souls, she'd probably be hurt and dismayed to be used so. Although, really, in what way could an old warship meet a dignified ending? If you sell the ship to a foreign country, would it be similar to selling one of your children into slavery?

Is scrapping a ship similar to killing a senior citizen who no longer is needed in a society?

What about those few ships that become museum pieces, would that be similar to having a hero in honorable retirement?

What about those ships, such as USS Olympia,, who in their honorable retirement are neglected, much as a human veteran might be neglected in a nursing home, covered with bedsores, starved, and smelling of urine from not being kept clean?

Well, she's gone now, but here is a picture of her to remember her by:


Butch Cassidy said...

The end to any warship is bitter and sad; but I would think that going down in a legitimate military role is about as honorable as it can get.

KurtP said...

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the God of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

Old Ironsides
by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Bob said...

@KurtP: I had forgotten about that one, although I have read it before in the past. Thanks for bringing it here!