Hello. Thought I'd post a bit here about my recent visit to the ship while she was docked in Alexandria. My last visit was during the 2003 river trip, where I was onboard at St. Louis and Evansville.
It was great to renew some acquaintances with members of the crew and meet some of the crew and their spouses for the first time. I had the privilege of helping out in the gift store, where visitors were buying many items. This was a great experience because I had the chance to talk to our visitors and listen to their many interesting stories about their service or that of a relative. Many who brought children onboard told me that they wanted the kids to see where their grandfathers had served the country.
I tagged along on one of the guided tours, and I must say how great the ship looks since the last time I saw her! The effort that has been put into restoring the 325 is very evident, although we all know that more needs to be done as time and money permit.
There was a local volunteer helping out on the weekend named Dan Ladd. He did a great job, and in fact after hours shuttled some of the crew who were not on duty over to the WWII Memorial and the Navy Memorial in DC on Friday. On Saturday evening he and I caravanned more of the crew. The guys were so appreciative, but the way I saw it, it was the least I could do as a way of thanking them not only for their service to the country, but also their efforts on behalf of the LST Memorial.
Being from Illinois, I'm really looking forward to when the ship is in Evansville, because it is only about a six hour drive away for me and I'll be able to help out more frequently then.
I cannot imagine the amount of effort that went into getting the ship to Alexandria, and the rest of the 2005 East coast tour, but I congratulate all who made this possible.
<font face="comic sans ms" color=navy size=4>Thanks for all you do ... and for all you've done.
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