September 2, 1998 |
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
For this lovely lady, that setting must be
her home and birthplace, Camden, N.J.
JOHN M. MORAN