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Posted: 10/3/2001 1:50:47 PM EDT
I received this from a mailing list I am a member of. I am sorry if this was posted before, but it is touching to me.... ++++++++++++++++++++++ Sent: Friday, September 21, 2001 12:35 PM Subject: Thought for the Day. Dear Dad, Well, we are still out at sea, with little direction as to what our next priority is. The remainder of our port visits, which were to be centered around max liberty and goodwill to the United Kingdom, have all but been cancelled. We have spent every day since the attacks going back and forth within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing high-security watches, and trying to make the best of our time. It hasn't been that fun I must confess, and to be even more honest, a lot of people are frustrated at the fact that they either can't be home, or we don't have more direction right now. We have seen the articles and the photographs, and they are sickening. Being isolated as we are, I don't think we appreciate the full scope of what is happening back home, but we are definitely feeling the effects. About two hours ago the junior officers were called to the bridge to conduct Shiphandling drills. We were about to do a man overboard when we got a call from the LUTJENS(D185), a German warship that was moored ahead of us on the pier in Plymouth, England. While in port, the WINSTON S CHURCHILL and the LUTJENS got together for a sports day/cookout on our fantail, and we made some pretty good friends. Now at sea they called over on bridge-to-bridge, requesting to pass us close up on our port side, to say goodbye. We prepared to render them honors on the bridgewing, and the Captain told the crew to come topside to wish them farewell. As they were making their approach, our Conning Officer announced through her binoculars that they were flying an American flag. As they came even closer, we saw that it was flying at half-mast. The bridgewing was crowded with people as the Boatswain's Mate blew two whistles---Attention to Port---the ship came up alongside and we saw that the entire crew of the German ship were manning the rails, in their dress blues. They had made up a sign that was displayed on the side that read "We Stand By You". Needless to say there was not a dry eye on the bridge as they stayed alongside us for a few minutes and we cut our salutes. It was probably the most powerful thing I have seen in my entire life and more than a few of us fought to retain our composure. It was a beautiful day outside today. We are no longer at liberty to divulge over unsecure e-mail our location, but we could not have asked for a finer day at sea. The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew, and it has truly been the highest point in the days since the attacks. It's amazing to think that only a half-century ago things were quite different, and to see the unity that is being demonstrated throughout Europe and the world makes us all feel proud to be out here doing our job. After the ship pulled away and we prepared to begin our man overboard drills the Officer of the Deck turned to me and said "I'm staying Navy." I'll write you when I know more about when I'll be home, but for now, this is probably the best news that I could send you. Love you guys.
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 6:25:38 PM EDT
Being a Navy man (1969-1973), I can imagine the feeling you got when they did what they did and seeing them flying the U.S. flag had to be awesome. All the merchant ships pulling into Savannah have been flying the U.S. flag along with their own. I don't know if this is customary since they are pulling into an American port (I did not pay attention before), but it still is a great sight.
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 6:41:06 PM EDT
Danke, Deutschland. If you want to help out, SEND MAUSERS.
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 7:02:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Erasmus: Danke, Deutschland. If you want to help out, SEND MAUSERS.
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Hmmmm, OK, if you mean send men with guns and ordnance to help us out, they might, if they can get it past their constitutional courts, since, last I knew, Germany's Basic Law (Bundesverfassung)forbids any sort of out-of-area (read: European/NATO) deployment. but, there is much sympathy for us in Germany anyway. Problem is, this is an unprecedented situation. It is totally unconventional, beyond what anybody can understand at this point. Even the Israelis can't figure out how to solve the increasingly worse suicide bomber problem. Maybe the massive retaliation of nuking the hell out of the Middle East is an answer, but I doubt the Germans, who are scared of what war will do to their national character, will go along. Deep down, many Germans I know are afraid of some unseen flaw in their national psyche which will turn them into goose-steppers again, or at least, make their neo-Nazis tolerated again. Call it the Dr. Strangelove syndrome- that arm just needs to be slapped down, I guess :^) The sailors on the German ship, though, they sound like good people. German military people I knew over there always felt misunderstood by their own people- maybe they'll get the chance to prove themselves, if their govt. and people will let them. At least they sent in a squadron of Alpha Jets to Turkey back during the Gulf War- it wasn't much, but it was a controversial giant step for the Germans. Of course, if Germany as a free nation doesn't survive this war, then they won't have to worry about their national character, will they?
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