Monday, May 22, 2006
In A city still emerging from the floods of Hurricane Katrina, a ship has begun to rise from the ashes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Bringing together America’s two great calamities of the 21st century, the USS New York is being built in New Orleans with 24 tonnes of steel taken from the collapsed World Trade Centre.
There is no shortage of scrap metal in New Orleans these days, but the girders taken from Ground Zero have been treated with a reverence usually accorded to religious relics. After a brief ceremony in 2003, about seven tonnes of steel were melted down and poured into a cast to make the bow section of the ship’s hull.
Some shipworkers say the hairs stood up on the backs of their necks the first time they touched it. Others have postponed their retirement so they can be part of the project.
One worker, Tony Quaglino, said: “I was going to go in October 2004 after 40 years here, but I put it off when I found out I could be working on New York. This is sacred and it makes me very proud.” Glen Clement, a paint superintendent, said: “Nobody passes by that bow section without knocking on it. Everybody knows what it is made from and what it’s about.”
The New York will be a huge amphibious assault ship, able to deliver 700 Marines to just about any coastline in the world, no port required. Imagine how handy that would have been at Normandy, Anzio, or Iwo Jima.
If this ship inspires the workers, just think what it will do for the Marines it delivers. Al Qaeda may learn yet again that blowback goes both ways.
This truly is an inspirational story. Too bad the Times writer (or his editor) saw fit to "balance" the story with an apparently unsupported tale of a Katrina victim boatyard worker. The writer's last paragraph is appalingly banal.
I love this story . . . had heard of it via a History Channel (I think) show on "boneyards," all about what happens to retired warships. Some are put out to pasture to become museums, while others are sunk or chopped up and recycled for future ships. The Trade Towers were a special case, and the pride of the workers was most touching and reassuring.
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