Friday, January 06, 2006

The Big J.

What more needs to be said? I was lucky enough to tour her at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard before she was refitted with some of the modern bells and whistles, and after those same bells and whistles had been added. I was privileged to tour the Mighty Mo in the same time frame but I never have toured the Iowa or Wisconsin-although I do know a "man of war's man" who is proud of his service aboard the Iowa.

At present the future home of the second Iowa is in limbo as the good people of San Francisco try and decide whether she should be berthed there as a museum and memorial to the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who gave, as Lincoln called it, "the last full measure of devotion".

Some feel that such an overt weapon should never have a place in the City by the Bay under any circumstances, and others would attempt to apply their own political and social context as a precondition to her berthing there.

She is what she is. Weapon, shrine, memorial to the young men whose bravery and courage we lesser mortals can only marvel at, a warning against the love of war, a marvel of the best technology of her time? All these things and more.

She is also a standard bearer for the people of the State of Iowa-we are enormously proud of her and the men who served so valiantly in her. If we had an ocean you can be quite sure that San Franciscans would never have been placed in the awkward position of deciding if they want this grey lady.


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