Friday, March 12, 2010
Bring her to life
LPD-21, Commissioning Day
New York, NY, November 2009
I admit I'm stretching the "under construction" thing a little with this one. But please hear me out.
I was privileged to be in New York the same weekend the U.S. Navy brought its newest ship, the USS New York (LPD-21) to town for its commissioning ceremony. This is a poignantly significant vessel: Her bow is made of steel taken from the wreckage of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 attacks.
It's hard to put into words what it meant, for me and for everyone there, to be standing in her shadow on this brilliantly sunny morning. Just over eight years after a similarly brilliant morning, it was evident just how much had changed since that awful day, and how great nations find a way to move on and grow. (We'll set aside political discussion of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns for another day.)
I chatted with a crew member on his way to the ship and thanked him for his and his shipmates' sacrifices. I didn't think he heard it often enough from citizens too focused on their own needs to appreciate the needs of their protectors, and I wanted to make sure he heard it at least once on this day.
I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked here, drinking in the spirit of this ship and her crew. It was a long jog back to the hotel, and the day awaited. So I buttoned up the camera and headed back, confident that the construction of a ship, now complete, would enrich the construction of a nation and her people. That last process, of course, is a never-ending one.
Your turn: Constructing a nation and her people. Please discuss.
One more thing: Please follow this link to participate in this week's Thematic Photographic theme, "Under construction".