Two famous ships featured prominently in the news today, albeit for very different reasons.
Lame-duck president George W. Bush appeared on board the World War II aircraft carrier Intrepid in a Veterans Day ceremony to rededicate the ship’s return as the Air, Sea and Space Museum.
Also on hand were over 2,500 veterans, and notable figures such as former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and New York governor David Paterson.
The Intrepid had been docked at a pier on the Hudson River in Manhattan for 24 years, where it functioned as a military and space museum. However, in late 2006, it was moved to an alternate location, where it underwent a 19-month, $120 million overhaul.
The Intrepid has a long and colorful history: it was commissioned in 1943 as a state-of-the-art Naval Essex-class attack carrier, and figured in six major Pacific theater battles. It managed to survived five Japanese kamikaze attacks and a torpedo assault, losing 270 crew members in the process. The Intrepid also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, and functioned as a recovery ship for NASA missions for a time.
The other ship to make the news did so for not-so-noble reasons.
The legendary Queen Elizabeth II, Cunard’s flagship ocean liner, embarrassingly ran aground briefly on its final commercial journey.
The ship, which was heading into its home port of Southampton Tuesday morning after 40 years of service, was blown off course by the wind and became stuck after hitting the Brambles sandbank off the Isle of Wight. Two tugboats, aided by the rising tide, were eventually able to free the ship after about an hour.
QE2 is to be reinvented as a floating five-star hotel in Dubai. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be present at a sending-off ceremony today which will also commemorate the end of WWI 90 years ago. A million poppies will be dropped over the ship in a gesture of respect, and a Royal Air Force Harrier jet will perform a flyover.
By Karen Elowitt for PeterGreenberg.com.
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