It's been five years....
Dom Perruso reminded us all recently of the fifth anniversary of the departure of LST 325 from Greece. It made me pause and think of how this anniversary is a very special one for the Gold Crew members. They have fond memories... the cameraderie of shipmates... the immense satisfaction of seeing a dream come true. They spent long hours in difficult conditions to bring the rest of us a wonderful gift.
Did it stop there? I don't think so....
The joy of being at sea again for these seventy 'something' year old sailors. Their love of the sea. Honoring their fellow veterans. The joy of having 'their' ship underway. Their amazement of the reception at Mobile. Did they seek the attention, realize the press coverage they were receiving or even care? The goal was to return an LST to the United States to share with their LST/Amphib brothers... and the rest of us. They succeeded. They made history.
The voyage was followed by years of hard work, in Mobile and later Evansville.
Hundreds have donated their time to do the 'dirty' work often at great expense to themselves, just as the Gold Crew did. Thousands more have donated money for funding repairs and operating costs. Thousands have toured this ship and paid homage to those who served and those who brought her back to us. Many, like myself, came to know a part of their fathers, brothers, uncles and others that was previously unknown. Many have worked long hours on paperwork, logistics, publicity, raising funds and awareness. More toiled in planning - not only for voyages to take the ship to the people - but also for the future of what has become 'our' LST. Each and every volunteer, veteran, crew member, tourist should take pride...
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO EXPRESS YOUR THANKS TO THOSE WHO MADE "OUR" ship possible... They have set an example, given us a legacy. We OWE them our thanks, our respect, our gratitude. It is up to ALL of us to carry forward this important tradition.
PLEASE POST a reply.. not to me.. but to THEM.
For me... I want you to know that you have changed my life... enriched it in so many ways that even surpass the ship. Your friendship is a precious gift and I give you my humble thanks. You are my family.
Gold crew - thank you all for your unending efforts to find & bring an LST for everyone to not just see but to learn so much from & bring so much enjoyment to so many lives. Little did we know that once we saw her we would also fall in love with her. Being part of the LST325 "family" reminds me of chocolate, you see the LST & get a small taste, then you have to have a little more & more. You might even have withdrawals when you can't get there as often as you would like. It's been so nice to meet people with a common interest & then find you become real friends. The ship is like home, you want to keep going back, visiting family & friends & pitching in to keep the home looking good. It's hard to imagine not having this beautiful lady, that you brought us, in our lives. Another big thrill for me has been to see the enjoyment she is bringing to so many people. Just stand back, watch & listen to the visitors. Some it's just their expressions or their tears, others will tell you about their very interesting experiences. This was no simple task to just buy a ship & sail it home. There were the years of looking, finding one, loosing it & starting the search all over. Then the months of hard labor to just get her in sailing condition as well as the money. How many people would have looked at that mess & said forget it! Not the Gold Crew! They saw her with their hearts not their eyes. Then the long journey home (while we all sat here praying you'd make it home!). The guts and determination of these guys is wonderful! They don't make 'em like that anymore, do they! Thank you Gold Crew! Hugs & kisses to you all!
With all the Christmas rush I didn't think about this very important anniversary! Thanks Seabat for reminding us!