Pearl Harbor ceremony aboard USS New Jersey - I woke up on December 7th assuming there would be some marking of the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack aboard the USS New Jersey. As expected, a notice was posted on the website that there would be a wreath ceremony with presentations from a US Navy Commander and a member of the first crew from 1942. As a veteran, this was an event I wanted to participate in, so I raced to Camden to be there by 8:00 in the morning. Cleared at the gate, I arrived just in time for the start of the proceedings. However, unbeknownst to me, I was as uninvited as the seagull on the first 16" gun in some of the pictures.
When I was a kid I made models of all of the ships that make up the Iowa Class Battleships including the USS Iowa, USS Wisconsin, USS Missouri and the USS New Jersey. I've always been hooked on all four especially the USS Missouri where the Japanese surrender was signed and the USS New Jersey since well for no other reason than I lived my first eleven years in that state. In my opinion, these ships would have shattered anything the Germans or British had afloat and were more than a match for the Japanese battleships Yamato or Musashi. This class was also the most beautiful in World War II, not that I am biased. Anyway, that's my dose of testosterone for the morning.
I spent a couple of hours walking around the ship on my own and only saw two other individuals during my self-guided tour. Both asked me if I was affiliated with a certain group or part of security, which was odd since I was wearing a sweatshirt, leather and hiking boots. I answered that I was not in either case and had come aboard for the ceremony. They left me on my way. Otherwise, it was kind of eerie being alone in that ship. However, it was nice to be out of the rain at least for part of it.
I was taking pictures of the superstructure on my way out and was met by a volunteer. He asked me who I was and when I informed him he stated, "We have been wondering who you were and what you were doing here. Since you have no legitimate reason to be here I'll have to ask you to leave". Something about the word "legitimate" just bothered me and I responded, "Wait a minute, I have no problem leaving if I am not supposed to be here and sincerely apologize; however, I did not misrepresent myself at the gate when I checked in or at any point in time when asked who I was." His tone changed with that comment and I went on my way. When I returned to my hotel room, I pulled up the website and the notice about the Pearl Harbor celebration was no longer posted for that Friday, but for the following Monday. My only thought on this is that a private event was briefly placed by accident on the public website just at the time when I logged in. I'll have to send them the admission fee now that I'm signed up for the news letter.
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