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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
South Jersey

Saturday, August 1, 1998

Ship belongs in Camden


I am addressing this letter to you with great excitement and anticipation as the battleship USS New Jersey prepares to be transferred to its homeland. This is the first time I have sat down and written a letter to an editor, a government agency or to a political association.

The question of where to berth the New Jersey has struck an interest and a fervor in me to get involved in what is right for the memory of this glorious ship and those who served on it, for the millions of visitors who are expected to board the ship, and for the community that is honored as the final berthing site.

Each of the three sites being considered - Jersey City, Bayonne and Camden - can all make good arguments as to why the ship should be docked at its site. In order to make the final decision, it is necessary for those who will make the decision to have the foresight to imagine what the site will look like in 10 years. If one looks at the present Waterfront in Camden, it becomes obvious that this is the sight that will benefit everyone involved. Without a doubt, Camden will be reborn. It is not if, but when.

Docking the ship in Camden can only assist in that rebirth. With the present ferry system and proposed tram from Philadelphia to Camden, the addition of the New Jersey in Camden will add another great attraction to this beautiful Waterfront site.

As you are well aware, Philadelphia is one of the most visited cities in America - 20.6 million visitors last year. The New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden had more than 500,000 visitors last year. With the historical sites, the Penn's Landing site, the active waterfront night life and the Aquarium all presently here, it appears that berthing the USS New Jersey in Camden is a natural choice and one that can be accomplished with minimal fanfare.

Maybe I'm biased because I live close to Camden, but really in my mind, this is a no-brainer. Picture the USS New Jersey docked on the Delaware River, with a short walk to the Aquarium, the awesome backdrop of picturesque Philadelphia, a tram ride over and a ferry ride back. Compare that to a ferry ride out to the ship in the New York Harbor, with a distant view of the Statue of Liberty and the great city of New York and nothing else to do except picnic at Liberty State Park. Or worse yet, imagine Bayonne, with a docking that may have eventual redevelopment after one traverses the roads from the Turnpike. It also affords a distant view of New York and the Statue of Liberty.

I don't think so. It's a done deal. Do what's right. Berth the USS New Jersey in Camden.


Praying for ship

I recall the majesty of the USS New Jersey steaming into Wonsan Harbor, North Korea, in May 1951 when our ship, the Brinkley Bass DD887, was struck by shore batteries. This majestic ship belongs in the harbor where most men who served aboard her or with her are located.

I am a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I earnestly pray the commission will look favorably on bringing the mighty New Jersey home to Camden.


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