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

Wednesday, September 2, 1998

Battleship: Naval art

Camden is the only proper site for the USS New Jersey. This grand ship would become an integral, dynamic part of our Waterfront renaissance. Though the revival proceeds fitfully, it does proceed. The BB-62 would provide added impetus.

This site would allow awesome views of the ship from both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The tram (another wonderful idea) would provide easy access for tourists.

The Bayonne industrial site would have this proud ship looking as forlorn and morose as a lost beagle in the rain. The Jersey City site would provide only a great backdrop, not an integrated setting, and would be unneeded competition for the USS Intrepid. Both ships deserve better.

The USS Constitution (in Boston where it was built) and the USS New Jersey mark ends of eras and tidal changes in naval philosophy and construction. Just as steam engines and steel signaled the end of sail and wood (Old Ironsides became fact, not just a fond nickname), the Forrestal-class aircraft carriers ended the reign of the dreadnoughts in the second half of the 20th century.

Yet, even today, seeing one of these ships with their low, stark, graceful lines can take your breath away. They are lovely, yet lethal, sights much like an assassin's dagger or a stealth bomber. While modern technology, missiles, Kevlar and advances in welding negates the need for 16-inch guns, 12 inches of steel armor and riveted strakes, this was state of the art in World War II and remains magnificent today.

The USS New Jersey is a work of naval art and a tribute to the men and women who designed and built her. Great works of art require great settings to be fully and truly appreciated.

For this lovely lady, that setting must be her home and birthplace, Camden, N.J.

JOHN M. MORAN
Blackwood



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