Visiting the USS New York Sunday, 22 November 2009 10:59
The USS New York, an amphibious transport dock with 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel in her bow, was docked in New York a couple weeks ago for her commissioning. They opened the ship to the public, and since I'm fascinated by all types of boats Philip and I went down to visit her. While I'm anti-war for the most part, I have the ultimate respect for our troops, and it's not every day you get to visit such a vessel.
It was moving to see her, and it did inspire a sense of pride, but I ended up with very mixed feelings about the experience. I was expecting it to be more about the boat, how it works, how it was built, etc. but it actually turned out to be both a showcase of the equipment on board, and a full-on military recruitment show. I was shocked that they actually let people get on and in all of the vehicles, tanks, aircraft, etc.; I thought security concerns would prevent that. But it was quite fascinating to see it all.
The part that did bother me was towards the end, there was an area set up with several stations where people (including kids) could handle all the guns! It was very surreal. I'm not a gun control nut, but I found it pretty disturbing. The atmosphere was definitely one of, "Hey kids, look at how much fun it is to be in the military! You get to play with all these great guns!" Hmmmm. Not that I think it's a negative thing to be in the military, it was just so over the top and one-sided.
I also think the flash animation on the official web site is kind of in bad taste www.navy.mil
The photos we took are here (I was also surprised they let people take photos of everything!): www.flickr.com