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Sat Nov 4, 2017, 09:39 AM

Why the SS United States should matter to you

https://www.newsday.com/opinion/columnists/william-f-b-o-reilly/why-the-ss-united-states-should-matter-to-you-1.13647379



You can still read the letters along the length of her bow, but they’re browned by rust now.

They popped when she was new; crisp white against a raven black hull. Seventy thousand came out to cheer them when the ship was unveiled at a Virginia drydock. They read, simply: United States.

It’s an audacious thing to name an ocean liner after a great nation. But the SS United States backed it up in every way. When the American passenger ship entered service in 1952, the British magazine Punch grudgingly wrote of her, “After the loud and fantastic claims made in advance for the liner United States, it comes as something of a disappointment to find them all true.”

Indeed, on her first transatlantic voyage the United States, at a length 100 feet greater than the RMS Titanic, beat the previously existing speed record set by the Great Britain’s RMS Queen Mary – by 10 hours. She still holds the transatlantic Blue Riband record, in both directions, 65 years later, having achieved trial speeds as high as 38.32 knots (44 mph) and average speeds across the Atlantic in her maiden voyage of 35.59 knots (40.96 mph).

Today, America’s flagship – the very symbol of American industrial power and innovation once – is motionless, save her rocking in the waves of the Delaware River in Philadelphia where she rusts in dock.

</snip>


Here's a link to the SS United States Conservancy's website: http://www.ssusc.org/

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why the SS United States should matter to you (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 OP
A HERETIC I AM Nov 2017 #1
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #2
A HERETIC I AM Nov 2017 #5
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #7
A HERETIC I AM Nov 2017 #8
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #10
A HERETIC I AM Nov 2017 #11
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #13
Rhiannon12866 Nov 2017 #3
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #4
MyOwnPeace Nov 2017 #6
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #9
JustABozoOnThisBus Nov 2017 #18
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #19
MyNameGoesHere Nov 2017 #12
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #14
A HERETIC I AM Nov 2017 #15
marked50 Nov 2017 #16
MyNameGoesHere Nov 2017 #17
Dennis Donovan Nov 2017 #20
heckles65 Nov 2017 #21
Adrahil Nov 2017 #22
hunter Nov 2017 #23

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 09:45 AM

1. If she was a building, she would be on the National Register of Historic Places

I had the good fortune to sail Westbound on her, Bremerhaven, Germany to NY 50 years ago this past September.

She should be completely restored to her former glory and operated. Saving that, at the very least the US Government - actually the damned Pentagon, should use a single days worth of their budget, sort her out and place her next to the Intrepid on the Hudson.

The fact that she looks the way she looks, tied up in Philly is a damned disgrace.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 09:48 AM

2. I could not agree more!!

And, you certainly DID have good fortune to have sailed on her! I'm quite jealous!!

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 09:54 AM

5. A few years ago I put up pics of the First Class menus I had saved;

The following link will take you to a post which has the links to each days menus.

Back then it seems the US government paid First Class transport for people of my fathers pay grade (He was CIA)

6 days I’ll remember forever;

https://www.democraticunderground.com/115761023

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 10:06 AM

7. I kicked your menu OP's - I hope you don't mind!

Thank you for those! I missed them the first time!

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 10:09 AM

8. Not at all!

I’m flattered!

I am happy you find them enjoyable.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 10:13 AM

10. Not only enjoyable... now I'm hungry for Iced Table Celery!

...and I was 5th rec on one or two of them.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 10:27 AM

11. LOL

I have looked at them from time to time over the years. I still can’t believe I was so timid as to not order something more exotic, but then I was 8 bloody years old!

I do remember that I had a Shrimp Cocktail at every lunch and dinner and I thought that was so cosmopolitan!

The service was impeccable. Every time I ordered one the Maitre’ D would cut my steak. We had the same waiter for each breakfast, another each day for lunch and another each day for dinner.

“The Blue Lady was truly a fantastic experience. Nothing like a modern cruise ship, of course, as she was purpose built to cross the North Atlantic at speed and specifically laid out so that she could be completely stripped of her passenger cabins and made into a troop ship over the course of basically a weekend to 4 days.

She lacks the “bulbous bow” that is so prevalent in todays ships, which increases efficiency dramatically. Still, as mentioned in the OP, she still holds the Blue Riband for her class, and her ultimate top speed was close to 40 knots - Over 46 MPH. Imagine 900 plus feet of ship hauling ass at almost fifty miles per hour.

To be fair, there have been crossings of the Atlantic at higher speeds, but they have been done by things like high speed catamarans - Ferry type vessels as well as, if memory serves, a highly modified offshore racing boat. But no large liner has come close, not even the new Cunard liners, the Mary and the Victoria.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #11)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 11:20 AM

13. You were much more adventurous as an 8 yr old than I was!

I was still in my hot dogs or peanut butter sandwich phase.

So true about how she was built for speed AND comfort... and to be a national security asset at a moment's notice. I remember in 1990 during the build up to the Gulf War, there were all sorts of logistical issues with getting troops to Saudi Arabia. At the time, I recall saying to others that we had ONE ship that could do it in 2-3 trips, tops - the SS US! But she had been mothballed for 21 yrs by then, so I guess getting her boilers and engines in shape would've taken too long. And, that was before the asbestos, lifeboat and davits removal in Turkey (in 1995 - in 1984, her furnishings and fittings were auctioned off).

You're correct about the lack of the bulbous bow, which was an interesting design choice in 1950 when William Francis Gibbs was conjuring her up. The SS Normandie, designed 18 yrs before, featured a bulbous bow which gave her an edge in the race for the Blue Ribband. I guess Gibbs wasn't sold on it.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 09:50 AM

3. Wow! That's a beautiful ship!

We owe it to our country's namesake to restore her. Everything has become disposable in this country, we need to preserve our history.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 09:53 AM

4. She was so stunning in her day!

I wish you (or I) could've seen her like that - instead she was so rusted the last time I saw her in Philly.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 10:04 AM

6. When I was a kid

I built a Revell model of that ship - the glue was tricky (and NO, I was not sniffing it! ) but it turned out pretty OK. Sure did admire the real thing!

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #6)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 10:10 AM

9. We likely built the same model!

...that was the week I stopped sniffing glue!

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 03:02 PM

18. Did the model have smoke coming out the stacks?

Or did you quit smoking that week as well?

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #18)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 03:35 PM

19. I did, but I didn't stop doing cotton!


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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 10:58 AM

12. Well I am no fan

Of making ships into monuments. She's either underway or making a lot of razor blades. Ships are meant to go away after their service is done. Honor the men and women, that thing is just a hunk of metal.

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Response to MyNameGoesHere (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 11:22 AM

14. You're entitled to your opinion...

...to which I strongly disagree. If you mean "honoring the men and women" as in those who built her, what better way than to preserve the end result of their labors?

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Response to MyNameGoesHere (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 11:32 AM

15. You could not be more wrong, Im sorry to say

Preserved vessels of note around the world belie the idea of “ships are meant to go away after their service is done”

The SS US represents a masterpiece of Naval architecture as well as an extraordinary example of American ship building capabilities.

The statement I made in my post #1 above is by no means mine, but this vessel perfectly illustrates the sentiment;

“If the United States was a building, she would be on the national register of historic places”

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Response to MyNameGoesHere (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 12:36 PM

16. Have you seen the USS Constitution?

Of course wooden razor blades would be bad.

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Response to marked50 (Reply #16)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 02:24 PM

17. You mean the warship

That is still commissioned. Hardly a museum considering it's status and original intent, I mean you can compare that to a ship most peasants couldn't afford passage on. Seems fair.

And If you don't understand the razor blade reference you're not a mariner

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Response to MyNameGoesHere (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 03:46 PM

20. How about the USS Olympia, one of the last armored cruisers afloat

I was 7 when I first visited her in Philly. It spurred my interest in history across the board. That interest in history made me VERY acutely aware of politics (for me, it started after my visit in 1972 as a 7 yr old, stuffing envelopes for George McGovern).

Turn the USS Olympia into razor blades because, as a 52 yr old, I needs to SHAVE godammit!

You're not getting it, are you?

P.S. A cash-strapped college student, one from very modest means, sailed on SS US on his way to an Oxford scholarship. He never amounted to much:

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Response to MyNameGoesHere (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 07:13 PM

21. I Agree - the S.S. United States is a white elephant, nothing more.

I completely agree with you. She was useful for fifteen, maybe twenty years of her life. The oceanic crossing market collapsed in the late '60s. And when the Soviets built up their navy in the 1970's, and larger transport aircraft became available, it became silly to risk an entire division of soldiers in one place.

If the United States was self-supporting as a static display, or even close to self-supporting, that would have been done long ago.

She will never sail again. Put her out of her misery.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 08:08 PM

22. My mother came to America on that ship! NT

 

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 09:08 PM

23. If only I was an evil genius billionaire... it would be my yacht.

With a fusion power plant replacing the oil fueled boilers, of course.

And lasers.

I took an ocean liner from New York to Europe when I was a kid, not the United States.

It was a lovely way to travel, nicer than the airlines were then, and far nicer than the airlines are now.

We've lost something in a world that is in such a hurry to go nowhere fast.

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