September 2, 1998 |
had the rare privilege in my capacity as communications specialist
for Sen. John J. Matheussen to be involved behind the scenes
in the Home Port Alliance's dedicated efforts to convince the
USS New Jersey Battleship Commission that Camden is the pre-eminent
site for the berthing of the majestic BB-62. I thought it time
to come out publicly as a citizen and lend my voice to support
the South Jersey site.
My father served in the Army during the Korean
War. He was always quiet about his sacrifice for his country
like countless other veterans our office has met on this project.
They went without hesitation at great personal peril to war and
in times of conflict. I'd like to thank them for that.
Just prior to the battleship commission's
visit to Camden on July 31 for our spectacular presentation,
I had the chance to do a dry run of the boat-ride aspect of our
planned event. The Camden Fire Department boat took a small contingent
of alliance members on the water to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard,
where we saw dry-docked the mighty sister ship to the New Jersey,
the USS Iowa. For me, someone who had never been near or on a
battleship, it was a dramatic and moving moment. For the first
time, I could imagine the magnificence and history of our namesake
battleship, the USS New Jersey, and how she would look to the
world at our Camden Waterfront.
Through my job, I have had the chance to meet
and talk with so many people from the Delaware Valley who built
the ship, fought on it and deeply love it. We all agree we deserve
the chance to complete the battleship's circle of life. She was
born here, and we would welcome her back on the Camden Waterfront
by providing her with the reverent care she deserves.