National World War II Memorial (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)

National World War II Memorial

The National World War II Memorial, an American memorial of national significance, sits on a 30,000 m2  (7.4-acre) piece of land (two-thirds of which is landscaping and water) on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The granite pillars

The memorial is dedicated to those who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. It consists of 56 5.2 m. (17 ft.) tall granite pillars,  arranged in a semicircle, and a pair of small 13 m. (43-ft.) high memorial triumphal arches (crafted by Rock of Ages Corporation, the northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic,” the southern one, “Pacific“), on opposite sides, surrounding a plaza and fountain.

The author with the Atlantic Arch in the background

Its design was based on Friedrich St. Florian‘s initial design, selected in 1997 during a nationwide design competition that drew 400 submissions from architects from around the country but altered during the review and approval process. On September 2001, ground was broken and the construction was managed by the General Services Administration.

The Pacific Arch

Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29, 2004. On November 1, 2004, the memorial became a national park  when authority over it was transferred to the National Park Service (under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group). As of 2009, more than 4.4 million people visit the memorial each year. In 2012, the memorial’s fountain was renovated.

The memorial’s fountain

Each of the 56 pillars, all consisting of oak (symbolizing military and industrial strength) laurel wreaths and wheat (symbolizing agricultural and breadbasket during the U.S. part in the war) laurel wreath. is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 U.S. states (as of 1945), as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska TerritoryTerritory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the PhilippinesPuerto RicoGuamAmerican Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The pillar of the Commonwealth of the Philippines

The plaza is 102.97 m. (337 ft., 10 in.) long and 73.2 m. (240 ft., 2 in.) wide and is sunk 1.8 m. (6 ft.) below grade.  It contains a pool that is 75.2 × 45 m. (246 ft., 9 in. by 147 ft., 8 in.). The memorial also includes two, inconspicuously located “Kilroy was here” engravings which acknowledges the significance of the symbol to American soldiers during World War II and how it represented their presence and protection wherever it was inscribed.

Excerpt from a speech by Pres. Harry S. Truman

Excerpt from Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech

The lettering for the memorial was designed by the John Stevens Shop and most of the inscriptions were hand-carved in situ. Laran Bronze, in Chester, Pennsylvania, cast all the bronzes over the course of two and a half years.

Some of the inscriptions

The Battle of Midway

The baldacchinos of the Pacific and Atlantic Arches each have laurel wreaths suspended in the air, with 4 bronze eagles carrying it, all created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey. The stainless-steel armature that holds up the eagles and wreaths was designed at Laran, in part by sculptor James Peniston, and fabricated by Apex Piping of Newport, Delaware. The chandelier sculpture symbolizes the victory of the War with the Nation’s bird carrying a Grecian symbol of victory but with an American adaptation of oak laurel wreaths to symbolize strength.

Seal using the World War II Victory Medal design

On approaching the semicircle from the east, I walked along one of two walls (right side wall and left side wall) with 24 bronze bas-relief panels (also created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey) that depict wartime scenes of combat and the home front. The scenes, as I approached on the left (toward the Pacific Arch), begin with soon-to-be servicemen getting their physical exams, taking the oath, being issued military gear, and progresses through several iconic scenes, including combat and burying the dead, ending in a homecoming scene.

The memorial flagpole

There is a similar progression on the right-side wall (toward the Atlantic arch) but the scenes are generally more typical of the European theatre with some scenes taking place in England, depicting the preparations for air and sea assaults. The last scene is of a handshake between the American and Russian armies when the western and eastern fronts met in Germany.

The Price of Freedom

The Freedom Wall, on the west side of the memorial, has a view of the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial behind it. The wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war. In front of the wall lies the message “Here we mark the price of freedom”

Jandy at the fountain area

National World War II Memorial: National MallWashington, D.C.

District of Columbia War Memorial (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)

The District of Columbia War Memorial, a memorial within the National Mall (the only local District memorial there)commemorating the citizens of the District of Columbia who served, fought and gave their lives in World War I, stands in in a grove of trees at West Potomac Park (the first war memorial to be erected in the park), near the Lincoln Memorial and slightly off of Independence Avenue.

District of Columbia War Memorial

Authorized by a June 7, 1924 act of Congress, funds for the memorial’s construction were provided by the contributions of both organizations and individual citizens of the District. In the spring of 1931, construction of the memorial, designed by Washington architect Frederick H. Brooke, with Horace W. Peaslee and Nathan C. Wyeth as associate architects, began and the memorial was dedicated on November 11, 1931, Armistice Day, by Pres. Herbert Hoover.

Dedication inscription

This 14.3 m. (47-ft.) tall circular, domed, peristyle Doric temple rests on concrete foundations. Its 1.2 m. (4 ft.) high marble base defines a 13.2 m. (43 ft., 5 in.) diameter platform, intended for use as a bandstand. Preserved in the cornerstone is a list of 26,000 Washingtonians who served in the World War I while inscribed on the base are the names of the 499 citizens who lost their lives in the war, together with medallions representing the branches of the armed forces. Twelve 6.7 m. (22-ft.) high, fluted Doric marble columns support the entablature and dome.

List of those who died

Restoration work, funded with US$7.3 million provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, began in October 2010. The lighting systems were improved, water drainage systems were corrected and the landscape was revived to allow the memorial to be used as a bandstand. On November 10, 2011, the memorial reopened. In 2014, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks unit.

How to Get There: The DC War Memorial is located just west of 17th St. and Independence Ave. SW, next to the World War II Memorial. The closest Metro station is Smithsonian.

Korean War Veterans Memorial (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)

Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial, located southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall, commemorates those who served in the Korean War. Our afternoon visit here coincided with the state visit of South Korean Pres. Moon Jae-In and we saw the wreaths he and US Vice-Pres Mike Pence laid at the memorial just this morning.

Wreath laid by South Korean Pres. Moon Jae-In

Wreath laid by US Vice-Pres. Mike Pence

Designed by Cooper-Lecky Architects, who oversaw collaboration between several designers, the Korean War Veterans Memorial’s design and construction was managed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board and the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Jandy at Korean War Veterans Memorial

On June 14, 1993, Flag Day, the groundbreaking for the Memorial was conducted by President George H. W. Bush. Faith Construction Company, the Richard Sherman Company, the Cold Spring Granite Company, the Tallix Art Foundry and the Baltimore District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the companies and organizations involved in the construction, are listed on the memorial.

Statues designed by sculptor Frank Gaylord

On July 27, 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war, the memorial was dedicated by President Bill Clinton and Republic of Korea President Kim Young Sam, to the men and women who served during the conflict.  On the day of its dedication, the memorial was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the management of the memorial was then turned over to the National Park Service, under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group.

The main memorial, in the form of a triangle intersecting a circle, has 50 m. (164 ft.) long, 200 mm (8 in.) thick walls; more than 100 tons of highly polished “Academy Black” granite from California; and more than 2,500 photographic, archival images (representing the land, sea, and air troops who supported those who fought in the war) sandblasted onto the wall. The Mural, created by Louis Nelson, has photographic images sandblasted into it depicting soldiers, equipment and people involved in the war. When reflected on the wall, there appear to be 38 soldiers, 38 months, and it is also representing the 38 parallel that separated the North and South Korea.

The Mural of Louis Nelson

Within the walled triangle are 19 stainless steel larger than life-size statues designed by Frank Gaylord, each between 2.21 m. (7 ft., 3 in.) and 2.29 m. (7 ft., 6 in) tall; and each weighs nearly 500 kgs. (1,000 lbs.). The figures, representing a platoon on patrol, were drawn from each branch of the armed forces – 14 from the U.S. Army, 3 from the Marine Corps, one is a Navy Corpsman, and one is an Air Force Forward Air Observer.  All are dressed in full combat gear and dispersed among strips of granite and juniper bushes which represent the rugged terrain of Korea.

Pool of Remembrance

The United Nations Wall, a low wall to the north of the statues and path, lists the 22 members of the United Nations that contributed troops or medical support to the Korean War effort.  The Pool of Remembrance, a shallow, 9 m. (30 ft.) diameter pool lined with black granite, is surrounded by a grove of linden trees (shaped to create a barrel effect, which allows the sun to reflect on the pool) with benches.

The numbers of dead

The numbers of wounded

Inscriptions list the numbers killed, wounded, missing in action and held as prisoners of war.  A nearby plaque is inscribed: “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.” Additionally, right next to the numbers of American soldiers, are those of the United Nations troops in the same categories. Three bushes of the Rose of Sharon hibiscus plant, South Korea’s national flower, are at the south side of the memorial. A further granite wall bears the simple message, inlaid in silver: “Freedom Is Not Free.”

Freedom is not Free

Korean War Veterans Memorial: 900 Ohio Dr SW, Washington, DC 20024

USS Constellation Museum (Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.)

USS Constellation with Museum Gallery at left

After our visit to the World War II vintage cutter USCGC Taney, Jandy, Kyle and I walked some distance, from Pier 1, to get to Pier 5 where the museum ship USS Constellation, a sloop-of-war/corvette is berthed, the last of two ships we were to visit using our Squadron Pass. This would our first time to go aboard and explore a three-masted sailing ship.

The author with the USS Constellation in the background

Now a part of Historic Ships in Baltimore, Constellation and her companions are major contributing elements in the Baltimore National Heritage Area.

Check out “The Historic Ships of Baltimore

Exhibit at Museum Gallery

Here are some interesting trivia regarding the Constellation:

  • It had a length of 60.96 m. (200 ft.), a beam width of 13.11 m. (43 ft.), a draft of 6.4 m. (21 ft.), displaced 1,400 lbs. and had a typical operating crew of 285 including a Marine detachment of 45.
  • She was built using some recycled materials salvaged from the old, 38-gun frigate USS Constellation (launched in 1797), which had been disassembled the year before at Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. She is the second U.S. Navy ship to carry this famous name.
  • In 1955, when the sloop-of-war was brought to Baltimore as a museum ship, it was under the mistaken belief that it was its predecessor, the 1797 frigate Constellation. Over the next four decades, the 1854 ship was “restored” to look like the older ship. In the early 1990s, a US Navy research team, led by Dana Wegner, conclusively proved the ship’s true identity.
  • Despite being a single-gun deck “sloop,” she was actually larger than her original frigate built, and more powerfully armed, with fewer (22) but much more potent shell-firing guns.  On commissioning, she had 16 x VIII-inch shell guns, 4 x 32-pounder guns and 2 x X-inch pivot mounted shell guns. During the American Civil War, she was equipped with 16 x VIII-inch shell Dahlgren guns (primary), 4 x 32-pounder guns (secondary), 1 x 30-pounder pivot mounted Parrott Rifle (bow) and 1 x 20-pounder pivot mounted Parrott Rifle (stern). She also had 3 x 12-pounder bronze howitzers for close-in fighting.
  • Her sail rigging, typical of the time, was set across 3 primary masts.
  • She had a surface speed of 21 knots (14 mph).
  • She is the last existing intact naval vessel, still afloat, from the American Civil War.
  • She was one of the last wind-powered (sail-only) warships built by the United States Navy.
  • She has been assigned the hull classification symbol IX-20.
  • About one-half of the lines used to rig the vessel are present (amounting to several miles of rope and cordage).

Here is the historical timeline of this ship:

  • Designed by John Lenthall, she was constructed at the Norfolk Navy Yard
  • Launched on August 26, 1854 and commissioned on July 28, 1855, with Captain Charles H. Bell in command, the Constellation  performed largely diplomatic duties, from 1855 to 1858, as part of the S. Mediterranean Squadron.
  • On July 1856, while on station, Constellation was dispatched to protect American lives and property at Malaga, Spain, during a revolution in that country.
  • That same year, while cruising in the Sea of Marmora, she rescued a barque in distress, receiving, from the court of the Austrian emperor, an official message in appreciation.
  • From 1859 to 1861, she was the flagship of the 8-ship Africa Squadron, taking part in African Slave Trade Patrol operations to disrupt the Atlantic slave trade. The ship interdicted three slave ships and released the imprisoned Africans.
  • On December 21, 1859, the Constellation captured the  Delicia, a brig fitted out as a slave ship (but with no slaves on board) which was without colors or papers to show her nationality.
  • On September 26, 1860, she captured the Cora, a “fast little bark” with 705 slaves who were set free in Monrovia, Liberia.
  • On May 21, 1861, in African coastal waters, the Constellation overpowered the Charleston-registered Triton, a slaver brig, one of the U.S. Navy’s first captures during the American Civil War.
  • During the Civil War, she spent much of the war in the Mediterranean Sea as a deterrent to Confederate cruisers and commerce raiders.
  • After the Civil War, Constellation spent a number of years as a receiving ship (floating naval barracks) in Norfolk, and later in Philadelphia, until 1869.
  • From March to July 1878, she carried exhibits to the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris
  • From March to June 1880, during the 1879 Irish famine, she carried 2,500 barrels of flour and potatoes for famine victims in Ireland.
  • In 1894, after being used as a practice ship for Naval Academy midshipmen, the Constellation became a training ship for Naval Training Center Newport.
  • During World War I, she helped train more than 60,000 recruits.
  • Decommissioned in 1933, the Constellation was recommissioned in 1940, by President Franklin Roosevelt, as a national symbol.
  • During World War II, she remained in Newport, spending much her time as relief (i.e. reserve) flagship for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. From May 21, 1941, the Constellation was the relief flagship for Ernest J. King and, later, from January 19 to July 20, 1942 and from 1943 to 1944, for his replacement Vice Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll.
  • In October 1946, the Constellation was moved to Boston, where she was kept, together with the venerable USS Constitution, as a naval relic. She remained in commission until 1954.
  • Decommissioned, for the last time, on February 2, 1955, she was moved to Baltimore and taken to her permanent berth.
  • On May 23, 1963, the Constellation was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
  • On October 15, 1966, she was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • In 1994, the Constellation was condemned as an unsafe vessel. Her rigging was removed an she was closed to the public.
  • In 1996, she was towed to a drydock at Sparrows Point, near Fort McHenry, and a US$9 million rebuilding and restoration project was undertaken and completed on July 2, 1999. In an attempt to safeguard the wood planking, the hull from the waterline to the keel was covered in a fiberglass coating and painted an aqua-blue.
  • On October 26, 2004, Constellation made her first trip, since 1955, out of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Lasting six days, the trip to the S. Naval Academy in Annapolis  marked her first trip to Annapolis in 111 years.
  • In late 2012, it was determined the wood hull behind the fiberglass sheathing, installed during the 1996–98 rebuilding, contained significant rotting.
  • From 2014 to 2015, over a 6-month period, the ship was again put in dry dock and rebuilt with fresh (and chemically treated to resist rotting) wood planking.
  • In late March 2015, the rebuilt ship was returned to her Inner Harbor berth and her rigging was completed
  • By May 2015, she was again opened to the public.

Top or spar deck

20 pounder, pivot-mounted Parrott Rifle at the stern

To get aboard, we had to enter the two-storey Museum Gallery Building (where USS Constellation’s history is portrayed through artifacts and personal effects which belonged to the ship’s crew), climb the stairs to the second floor and cross a gangplank to the ship.

Kyle at the gun deck

Jandy beside a VIII-inch Dahlgren gun

Nearly all of the ship was accessible during our tour. We went down to all 4 wooden decks, each one different, and there were plenty of things to see on each.

Ship’s Stove

Galley Provisions

Compared to the USCGC Taney, the Constellation’s stairs leading to the lower decks , though still steep and narrow, were still much easier to go up and down.

Check out “USCGC Taney

Bilge and Fire Pump

Arms Chest

There are plenty of signs and visual aids to explain everything.The male guide, dressed in uniform of the period, was very knowledgeable on the ship’s history.

Captain’s Office

 

Captain’s Stateroom

The top or spar deck, the highest of the continuous decks running the full length (stem to the stern) of a ship, was where all sailing operations took place.  The ship’s wheel, binnaclefife rails, and so forth, are also mounted here. The ship’s sails here were large and quite impressive.

Dining Table

Officers Quarters

The next deck down is the gun deck where the ship’s main battery of VIII-inch Dahlgren guns, the Captain’s Cabin, the Officers Quarters and the Galley are located. The ship’s officers (Executive Officer; Master; Marine Lieutenant; Second, Third, Fourth & Fifth Lieutenants; Chaplain, Paymaster; Surgeon) each had individual living quarters with beds.

Executive Officer’s Quarters

Master’s Quarters

The captain, on the other hand, had a large spacious area to himself, complete with dining table, bath, study, and the only private, old-school toilet on deck (it had a window view).

Second Lieutenant-Navigator’s Quarters

Chaplain’s Quarters

We explored further, going down another flight of steps to reach the berth deck where the majority of the crew  lived and socialized and where their hammocks are slung.

Pantry

Despensary

Going down one more ladder brought us to the ship’s hold where food, water and gear for the crew  was stowed.  The top deck (spar deck) and gun deck are accessible via wheelchair lifts. The headroom on the two lower decks was low.

Stairs leading to Berth Deck

Berth Deck

A trip way back in maritime history, for tall ships it’s hard to beat the Constellation as we saw how the sailors slept (not very comfortable I should imagine as they slept on hammocks with no privacy) and ate on the ship, giving us a real feel at how hard it was to live on a ship back then.

Ship’s Hold

USS Constellation: Pier 1, Constellation Dock, 301 East Pratt St., Inner Harbor, BaltimoreMaryland 21202-3134, United States. Tel: 410-539-1797 (Main Office) and 410-396-3453 (Group Sales/ Education Office).  Fax: 410-539-6238. Open daily, 10 AM – 4:30 PM. E-mail: administration@historicships.org. Website: www.historicships.org. Admission: US$18 (Fleet Pass – 4 ships entry), UUS$15 (Squadron Pass – 2 ships entry). Tickets may be purchased on-line or at ticket locations on Pier 1, Pier 3 or on board the USCGC Taney.

Tours are regularly available, self-guided or with the assistance of staff. Tour groups can participate in demonstrations such as “turning the yards” and operating the capstan on the main deck to raise/lower cargo. Daily, a cannon firing is also demonstrated. Star-Spangled Spectacular visitors, with limited mobility and one companion, may tour the USS Constellation free on September 11, 12, 14 and 15, during her regular scheduled operating hours.

USCGC Taney (Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.)

USCG Cutter Taney

During our tour of The Historic Ships of Baltimore, Jandy, Kyle and I first visited the USCGC Taney, a United States Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter (WPG/WAGC/WHEC-37), one of two of the famed Treasury-class (out of seven total) Coast Guard cutters still afloat.

The author and Kyle at the deck of USCG Cutter Taney

Kyle sitting on the pilot’s deck seat

It is notable for being the last ship afloat (a non-combatant vessel at Pearl Harbor, the US Navy tug Hoga, also remains afloat) that fought in the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor (although Taney was actually moored in nearby Honolulu Harbor not Pearl Harbor itself).

The Pilot’s Room

Log Office

This destroyer-size cutter, named after famed Maryland Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney (who was, at various times, US Attorney GeneralSecretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), was 327 ft. long, with a beam of 41 ft., and originally displaced 2000 tons.

Taney at Pearl Harbor Exhibit

Here are some interesting historical trivia regarding this ship’s distinguished career:

  • The Taney was laid on May 1, 1935, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was built alongside three of her sister ships, Campbell, Duane and Ingham.
  • She was launched on June 3, 1936 and commissioned on October 24 that same year. It was first home ported in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Designed for peacetime missions of law enforcement, search and rescue, and maritime patrol, its original armament consisted of two 5”/51 caliber deck guns, and two 6-pounder saluting guns. It was also originally equipped to carry a Grumman JF-2 “Duck” float plane.
  • In May or June 1937, the Roger B. Taney’s name was shortened to simply Taney.
  • In the pre-war years, Taney she interdicted opium smugglers and carried out search and rescue duties from the Hawaiian Islands through the central Pacific Ocean and made regular cruises to the equatorial Line Islands (Kanton and Enderbury Islands), some 1500 miles southwest of Oahu, to re-supply and support to American colonists there.
  • In 1937, Taney participated in the search for missing aviator Amelia Earhart.
  • In 1940 and 1941, in anticipation of war, she received successive armament upgrades that included an additional 5”/51 caliber gun on the fantail (where her float plane once stood), three 3”/50 caliber dual purpose guns (capable of shooting at both surface and airborne targets), additional .50 caliber machine guns, depth charge racks and throwers, and sonar for locating submarines.
  • On the eve of Pearl Harbor, though she retained her Coast Guard crew, Taney was officially assigned to the US Navy’s Destroyer Division 80.
  • On December 7, 1941, when Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor and other American military installations in Hawaii, she was tied up at Pier 6, Honolulu, where she was able to repeatedly engage Japanese planes which over flew the city. When the attack subsided, it immediately set out to search for Japanese submarines off Pearl Harbor. Although it did not locate any, the ship received the American Defense Service Medal for the crew’s quick and courageous action.
  • From December 1941 until the fall of 1943, Taney operated from the west coast of the US through the Central Pacific, carrying out anti-submarine patrols, convoy escort duties as well as special assignments.
  • In 1942, after the Battle of Midway, she was one of many ships searching for survivors
  • In July 1943, while delivering a US Navy survey party to Baker Island along the Equator, the cutter fought off an attack by a Japanese “Mavis” patrol bomber.
  • In the fall of 1943, after a major refit at Mare Island (during which the ship lost her older 5”/51s and 3”/50s and received four 5”/38 caliber dual purpose guns), Taney was transferred to the Atlantic Theater where she served as Flagship of Task Force 66, US Atlantic Fleet and was the command vessel for six convoys of troop and supply ships between the US and North Africa.
  • On the evening of April 20, 1944, off the coast of North Africa, Taney narrowly dodged several torpedoes while fending off a large scale attack by German Junkers Ju 88and Heinkel He 111 medium bombers against Convoy UGS-38. Three ships were lost in the attack including the ammunition ship SS Paul Hamilton and the destroyer USS Lansdale.
  • In 1945, after a dramatic reconfiguration as an Amphibious Command Ship (AGC), Taney returned to the Pacific.
  • During the Battle of Okinawa, the cutter was the flagship of Rear Admiral Calvin Cobb, USN, who commanded a variety of naval operations off the island of Ie Shima, immediately northwest of Okinawa.
  • During April and May 1945, at the height of the campaign during 119 separate engagements in which her crew stood to battle stations, Taney was under frequent attack and was credited with destroying four Kamikaze suicide planes and 1 Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber and assisted in numerous other “kills.”
  • Immediately after the end of the Pacific war, on September 11, 1945, Taney steamed into Japanese home waters at Wakayama, where it received American and other Allied prisoners-of-war and assisted with their evacuation.
  • During the Korean War, Taney received additional anti-submarine weapons and frequently carried out plane-guard duties off Midway Island and Adak, Alaska.
  • Following World War II, Taney was reconfigured for peacetime duties and, from 1946 until 1972, she was home ported in Alameda, California. Known as “The Queen of the Pacific,” she carried out virtually every peacetime Coast Guard duty including decades of Ocean Weather Patrol throughout the Pacific, fisheries patrols in the Bearing Sea and countless search and rescue missions.
  • On April 27, 1960, Taney had the honor to host French President Charles de Gaulle on his VIP tour of San Francisco Bay.
  • By the late 1960s, Taney had become the last United States vessel still in commission that had seen action during the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Hawaii. Consequently, from that time on, she was often referred to as “The Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor.”
  • In 1969-70, during the Vietnam War, Taney participated in “Operation Market Time” in the South China Sea. As a unit of Coast Guard Squadron III, she interdicted illegal arms and supplies by inspecting 1,000 vessels along the coast of South Vietnam, fired over 3,400 rounds of 5”/38 ammunition, in support of American and South Vietnamese troops, and provided medical assistance to more than 5,000 Vietnamese civilians. For the crew’s service, the government of the Republic of South Vietnam awarded, in February 1970, Taney with the Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation.
  • In February 1972, Taney was reassigned, from the 12th Coast Guard District in San Francisco, to the 5th Coast Guard District in Virginia.
  • From 1973 to 1977, Taney carried out Ocean Weather Patrol at Weather Station HOTEL, some 200 miles off the coast of New Jersey, as well as “hurricane hunting” (for which she received a special Doppler weather radar installation atop her pilot house).
  • In September 1977, Taney had the distinction of completing the Coast Guard’s last ocean weather patrol when she closed out Ocean Weather Station HOTEL.
  • From 1977 until 1986, Taney carried out search and rescue duties, fisheries patrols in the North Atlantic, drug interdiction patrols in the Caribbean, and summer training cruises for the Coast Guard Academy. During this period she made 11 major seizures of illegal drug including a 1985 bust which netted 160 tons of marijuana – the largest in US history.

Operation Market Time Exhibit

Over her distinguished career, Taney received three battle stars for World War II service and numerous theater ribbons for service in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War.

National Historic Landmark Plaque

After more than 50 years of service, Taney was decommissioned on December 7, 1986 at Portsmouth, Virginia and given to the City of Baltimore, Maryland as a memorial and museum ship in the Inner Harbor as part of the Historic Ships in Baltimore collection.

Check out “The Historic Ships of Baltimore

Ammunition Hoist

Radio Room

In 1988, USCGC  Taney was added to the National Register of Historic Places and, on the same day, was also designated as a National Historic Landmark. Taney is included in the Baltimore National Heritage Area.

Galley

Common Mess Area

During our tour, much of the ship was open to walk through.  We explored both below decks and up to the bridge. Upon close inspection, this museum ship is not exactly a World War II time capsule like USS Missouri and other veteran ships.

Sickbay

Throughout her life, she had been modernized and her spaces are more typical of a naval ship of the 1980s, the decade when she was decommissioned, rather than the 1940s.

Crew Berthing Area

Items of circa 1986 shipboard life include personal items and clothing in living quarters, offices with cabinets and typewriters, an ammunition room still loaded with training rounds, and stocked damage control lockers.

Soogie, the ship’s mascot dog

Crew’s Head

Some spaces have been repurposed for museum exhibits that focused on events the ship played a role (Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, Vietnam War, etc.).

Ship’s Store

Barber shop

USCGC Taney: Pier 5, Baltimore Maritime Museum, 301 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland  21202-3134, United States.  Open spring, summer and fall Sundays-Thursdays, 10 AM to 5:30 PM; Fridays & Saturdays, 10AM to 6:30 PM. During the winter, it is open Fridays-Sundays only: 10:30 AM to 5 PM. Tel: 410-396-3453. E-mail: administration@historicships.org. Website: www.historicships.org. Admission: US$18 (Fleet Pass – 4 ships entry), UUS$15 (Squadron Pass – 2 ships entry). Tickets may be purchased on-line or at ticket locations on Pier 1, Pier 3 or on board the USCGC Taney.

How to Get There:  The Inner Harbor is accessible by bus, light rail, and metro subway (one-way rides are US$1.60). The light rail station closest to the ship is located at the Convention Center on Pratt Street (nine blocks west of the harbor). The closest metro station is Market Place at Power Plant Live (three blocks north and two blocks east of the submarine). There are also several bus routes that serve the Inner Harbor.

The Historic Ships of Baltimore (Maryland, U.S.A.)

The Historic Ships of Baltimore

One of the highlights during our 2-night stay in Baltimore was our visit to The Historic Ships of Baltimore, a maritime museum located in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, an opportunity too good to miss for a nautical buff. An affiliate of the Living Classrooms Foundation,  it represents one of the most impressive collections of military vessels in the world.  Exhibiting life at sea, from the mid-19th century to the mid-1980’s, it was created as a result of the merger of the USS Constellation Museum and the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

Jandy posing with the World War II submarine USS Torsk in the background

The museum’s collection, all located within easy walking distance of each other, features four historic and well-maintained museum ships from four different times in history.  The USS Constellation, a 1854 sloop-of-war in Pier 1, was the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy.

Check out “USS Constellation Museum

USCG Cutter Taney

The USCGC Taney (WHEC-37), a Coast Guard cutter in Pier 5, is the last surviving vessel to witness the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  The USS Torsk (SS-423), a World War II-era, Trench-class (one of 10) submarine in Pier 3 commissioned in 1940, torpedoed the Coast Defense Vessels #13 and #47 on August 14, 1945, the last two enemy combatants of World War II.  The Chesapeake, a lightship (which marked the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay) in Pier 3 built in 1930, was a navigational aid with beacons mounted on it.

Check out “USCGC Taney

The author posing with the lightship Chesapeake in the background

Also included in the collection is the 40 ft. high Seven Foot Knoll Light, a screw-pile lighthouse in Pier 5 built in 1856. One of the oldest Chesapeake Bay area lighthouses, it was erected at the mouth of the Patapso River, on a shallow shoal called the Seven Foot Knoll. For over 130 years, it marked the entrance to the Patapsco River and Baltimore Harbor. The three ships (USS Constellation, USCGC Taney and the USS Torsk) are National Historic Landmarks and all five are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Seven Foot Knoll Light

Jandy, Kyle and I availed of the Squadron Pass and visited the USCGC Taney and the USS Constellation (by far, our favorite). Our interesting and educational visit gave us a good overview of different parts of the nautical world and of Baltimore’s heritage as a major seaport.  Both ships were amazing to walk through as they had much of their original furnishings (like uniforms, desks, etc) for effect (where needed, accurate replicas where made).

Jandy with the American Civil War-era sloop-of-war USS Constellation in the background

Historic Ships in Baltimore: 301 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland  21202-3134, United States. Tel: 410-539-1797 (Main Office) and 410-396-3453 (Group Sales/ Education Office).  Fax: 410-539-6238. Open daily, 10 AM – 4:30 PM. E-mail: administration@historicships.org. Website: www.historicships.org. Admission: US$18 (Fleet Pass – 4 ships entry), UUS$15 (Squadron Pass – 2 ships entry). Tickets may be purchased on-line or at ticket locations on Pier 1, Pier 3 or on board the USCGC Taney. Admission is free at the Seven Foot Knoll Light.

St. Leo the Great Church (Baltimore, Maryland)

St. Leo the Great Church

The historic St. Leo the Great Church, designed by renowned Baltimore architect E. Francis Baldwin, is located in the heart of the neighborhood of Little Italy. Its cornerstone was laid on September 12, 1880 and the church was built with brick with stone trim and dedicated in September 1881.

The church’s interior

Combining ItalianateRomanesque and Classical elements and a good example of High Victorian eclecticism, it features a high entrance porch, a turret with conical roof on the north wall, a square bell tower at the northeast corner, a large rose window in the main façade, and a variety of decorative brickwork.

The altar

It was the first church in Maryland, and among the first in the nation, founded and built specifically for Italian immigrants. In 1983, the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The organ at the choir loft

St. Leo’s Church: 227 S Exeter St., BaltimoreMaryland 21202. Tel: +1 410-675-7275. Email: saintleos@msn.com. Website: www.saintleorcc.com. Mass schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (8 AM), Saturday Vigil (4:30 PM), Sunday (9:30 & 11:30 AM)

St. Augustine Catholic Church (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

St. Augustine Catholic Church

The historic and pretty ornate St. Augustine Catholic  Church (also called Olde St. Augustine’s), built to replace the Old St. Augustine Church (the first Order of Hermits of St. Augustine church founded in the United States) which was completed in 1801 and burned down in the anti-Catholic Philadelphia Nativist Riots on May 8, 1844  (all that remained was the back wall of the altar), was designed by architect  Napoleon LeBrun who also designed Philadelphia landmarks as the Academy of Music (eventual home of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The church’s Palladian-style facade

The present church, whose cornerstone was laid on May 27, 1847, was completed in December 1848 and consecrated by Bishop Francis Kenrick and Archbishop John Hughes who presided over High Mass on November 5, 1848.

The main entrance

In 1922, the altar area underwent significant restoration and change, the vestibule of the church was changed significantly and stairs were put in when 4th Street was excavated to pass under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The nave of the church is original. The color in the brick facade of the church indicates where the original church brick ends and where the 1922 brick begins. On June 15, 1976, the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The magnificent interior

On December 1992, a severe storm severely damaged the church’s steeple whose debris fell onto the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, closing for three days. The damaged steeple had to be disassembled and removed. A 50-ft. chasm opened in the church roof caused the priceless painting and murals inside to suffer water damage. On October 18, 1995, a new steeple was erected.

Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) meets the scared Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) inside the church in The Sixth Sense

The interior and exterior of St. Augustine’s Church was featured in the 1999 M. Night Shyamalan spooky thriller The Sixth Sense (where Bruce Willis, as Dr. Malcolm Crowe, and Haley Joel Osment, as Cole Sear, meet for the first time) and the 2007 action movie Shooter  (in which the church’s bell tower figures in an assassination plot).

The Shooter

This church is the parish of choice of many Filipino-American Catholics (who increased the congregation’s numbers in the 1990s) from Philadelphia, the city’s suburbs and the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware). In fact, on January 11, 1992, an exact replica of Santo Niño de Cebú was installed and dedicated here and Filipinos have held a special mass and festivals (also called Sinulog) for the Santo Niño, making it the National Shrine for devotion to Santo Nino in North America.

This Palladian-style (an Italian-Renaissance variant) church, with its non-cruciform plan, has a flat, decorated roof, semicircular arched window, an enormous cleaving balcony and two sets of stained glass windows, each dedicated to a saint. The impressive, ornate foyer, though lower than the church (you need to take another set of stairs to go up into the church), is treated like a part of the interior.

The main arched altar, framed by an archway supported by brown Corinthian columns flanked by flying angels, consists of white marble with shafts of Mexican onyx bordering the tabernacle. Behind the altar is a Crucifixion tableau, painted by Hans Hansen in 1926, crowned by the words “The Lord Seeth.” Above it sits a domed skylight.  The wrap-around, 3-sided gallery essentially divides the space vertically in half.

The main altar

The beautiful ceiling frescoes, depicting scenes from “St. Augustine in Glory,” as well as murals on either side of the altar were painted by Philip Costaggini (who painted part of the frieze on the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.) in 1884 and are the oldest in any church in America.

Statue of St. Nicholas Tolentine at the ornate foyer

Statue of St. Thomas of Villanova

St. Augustine Catholic Church: 243 North Lawrence St., PhiladelphiaPennsylvania 19106, United States.  Tel: +1 215-627-1838. Fax: 215-627-3911. E-mail: staugustineparish09@gmail.com.  Website: www.st-augustinechurch.com. Mass schedules: Mondays – Fridays: 12:05 PM (10 AM during legal holidays), Saturdays (Vigil – 5:15 PM) and Sundays (9 AM, 11 AM and 7 PM). Novena prayers to Santo Nino are held after the 11 AM Sunday Mass. Open Mondays to Fridays, 9 AM to 5 PM; weekends, 9 AM to the conclusion of the evening masses.

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola (New York City, U.S.A.)

The very first mass we attended in the US, on the eve of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, was held at the beautiful Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was officiated by the very friendly and welcoming Fr. Dennis J. Yesalonia, S.J.

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

This Roman Catholic parish church, under the authority of the Archdiocese of New York, is administered by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The church is part of a Jesuit complex on the block that includes Wallace Hall, the parish hall (beneath the church), the rectory (at the midblock location on Park Ave.), the grade school of St. Ignatius’s School (on the north midblock location of 84th St., behind the church) and the high school of Loyola School (also 980 Park Ave.) at the northwest corner of Park Ave. and 83rd St. The Regis High School (55 East 84th St.), another Jesuit high school, occupies the midblock location on the north side of 84th St..

Established in 1851 as St. Lawrence O’Toole‘s (a twelfth-century bishop of Dublin) Church, a wooden church was erected in 1852 but was replaced, in 1853, by a modest brick structure. In 1886, it was entrusted to the care of the Society of Jesus  the Jesuits’ first major apostolate in the Yorkville area of New York.  In 1898, it was granted permission by Rome to change the patron saint of the parish to St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The church’s foundation was built from 1884 to 1886 and the present German Baroque-style church, designed by Arch. J. William Schickel of Schickel & Ditmars, was built from 1895 to 1900. On December 11, 1898, it was dedicated by the Most Reverend Michael Corrigan, third Archbishop of New York. On March 4, 1969, the church was declared as a New York City Landmark and, on July 24, 1980, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The beautiful church interior

Notable people whose funerals were held here include:

This 90 ft. high and 87 ft. wide architectural gem has a Classical Park Avenue exterior that is not static, with the central division raised in slight relief beyond the side divisions.  Its façade has 2 unbroken vertical orders, a Palladian arched window and a tri-part horizontal division which suggest the central nave and side aisles beyond. Directly beneath the pediment are inscribed the words “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (“To the Greater Glory of God”, the motto of the Society of Jesus,  and the Great Seal of the Society (composed of a cross, three nails, and the letters I H S, the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek which later became a Latin acronym denoting Jesus the Savior of Humankind).

The altar

The varying intervals between the symmetrically positioned pilasters create a subtly undulating dynamism that introduces a note of syncopated rhythm reminiscent of the exterior of Il Gesù, the Jesuits’ mother church in Rome. Two copper-capped tower bases, on either side of the central pediment, are hints of the abandoned grander scheme of a pair of towers designed to reach 210 ft. above the ground. The church’s intricate marble work, executed by the firm of James G. Batterson, Jr., and John Eisele of New York, includes American (pink Tennessee), European (yellow Siena, veined Pavonazzo and white Carrara) and African (red-veined Numidian and pink Algerian) marble. The soaring ceiling was beautifully crafted and the intricate stained glass windows tells the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection.

The high ceiling

The marble mosaic Stations of the Cross panels were designed by Professor Paoletti for Salviati & Company of Venice.  The great 12-panel bronze doors, located at the sanctuary end of the side aisles, were designed by the Rev. Patrick O’Gorman, S.J. (pastor from 1924 to 1929) and were crafted by the Long Island Bronze Company. The Carrara marble Jesuit statues (including St. Francis Xavier and St. John Francis Regis) were carved by the Joseph Sibbel Studio of New York.  The church organ, built by N.P. Mander of London, was dedicated in 1993 and is New York City’s largest mechanical action (tracker) pipe organ.

The semicircular wrought-iron baptistery screen of gilt flaming swords, in the Chapel of John the Baptist, was wrought by Mr. John Williams to the designs of William Schickel. The Carrara marble baptistery font, set above the marble pavement, was designed “by Heaton, Butler & Bayne of London, with slight modifications made by Mr. John Buck of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Gorham Company of New York (also responsible for the cutting and installing the mosaic’s tesserae – the pieces comprising the mosaic).

The baptistery’s altar and the surrounding curved walls, designed and executed under the direction of Mr. Caryl Coleman of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (who also executed the baptistery’s semi-dome), were made with Pavonazzo marble inlaid with mosaics (composed of that company’s justly famous opalescent Favrile glass, as delicate as the Venetian glass mosaics above are bold).

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola: 980 Park Ave. cor. East 84th St., New York City, New York 10028.  Tel: +212-288-3588. Website: www.stignatiusloyola.org. Mass Schedule: Mondays-Fridays, 8:30 AM, 12:10 PM and 5:30 PM; Saturdays, 8:30 AM an 5:30 PM; Sundays, 8 AM, 9:30 AM, 11 AM (Solemn Mass) and 7:30 PM.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum (New York City, U.S.A.)

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (also known as the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Memorial Museum), located at the former location of the Twin Towers (destroyed during the September 11 attacks) at the World Trade Center site, are the principal memorial and museum, respectively, that commemorate the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 victims, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six.

September 11 Memorial Plaza

The memorial was designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad (whose Reflecting Absence, on January 2004,was selected as the winner, from among 5,201 entries from 63 countries, of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition) of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm, who worked with landscape-architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design.

Layout of Memorial Plaza

Featuring a forest of trees with two square pools in the center where the Twin Towers stood, its design was consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan which called for the memorial to be 9.1 m (30 ft.) below street level (originally 21 m./70 ft.) in a plaza. Started on August 2006, the memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the attacks, an was opened to the public the following day. The museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened on May 21.

South Pool

Two 4,000 m2 (1 acre) pools, with the largest man-made waterfalls (intended to mute the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary) in the United States, comprise the footprints of the Twin Towers, symbolizing the loss of life and the physical void left by the attacks. Delta Fountains engineered the fountain. Many parts of the memorial were planted by Walker with white oaks while almost 400 sweet gum and swamp white oak trees fill the remaining 24,000 m2 (6 acres) of the Memorial Plaza, enhancing the site’s reflective nature.

Parapet on wall with bronze plates inscribed with victims’ names

The parapets of the walls of the memorial pools are attached with 76 bronze plates inscribed with the names, arranged according to an algorithm, of 2,983 victims – 2,977 killed in the September 11 attacks and six killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Flower offering for one of the victims

Around the perimeter of the North Pool are the names of the employees and visitors in the North Tower (WTC 1), the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight 11 (which struck the North Tower), and the 5 employees and a visitor, all adults, of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, all memorialized on Panel N-73.

North Pool

Around the perimeter of the South Pool are the names of the employees and visitors in the South Tower (WTC 2), the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 175 (which struck the South Tower), the employees, visitors, and bystanders in the immediate vicinity of the North and South Towers, the first responders (listed with their units) who died during rescue operations, the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 (which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania) and American Airlines Flight 77 (which struck the Pentagon), and the employees at the Pentagon.

Though company names are not included, the company employees and visitors are listed together. Passengers on the 2 United Airlines and 2 American Airline flights are listed under their flight numbers. The phrase “and her unborn child” follows the names of ten pregnant women who died on 9/11 and one who died in the 1993 attack.

Survivor Tree

The “Survivor Tree,” a symbol of hope and rebirth, is a 2.4 m.( 8-ft.) tall callery pear tree (planted during the 1970s near Buildings 4 and 5, in the vicinity of Church St.) which was recovered, badly burned with one living branch, from the rubble at the World Trade Center site on October 2001. Nursed back to health by the Bronx nursery, the then 9.1 m. (30 ft.) tall tree was returned, on December 2010, to the World Trade Center site and is now a prominent part of the memorial.

September 11 Memorial Museum

The September 11 Memorial Museum, dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened to the public on May 21, was built at the former location of Fritz Koenig‘s The Sphere, a large metallic sculpture placed in the middle of a large pool between the Twin Towers.  Designed by Davis Brody Bond, the museum, about 21 m. (70 ft.) below ground and accessible through a pavilion designed by Snøhetta,  encloses 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq. ft.) of publicly accessible space. Its exhibits include 23,000 images, 10,300 artifacts (including wrecked emergency vehicles, two tridents from the Twin Towers and pieces of metal from all seven World Trade Center buildings including the last piece of steel to leave Ground Zero in May 2002), nearly 2,000 oral histories of those killed  (mostly provided by friends and families) and over 500 hours of video.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum: 180 Greenwich St, New York City, New York 10007. Open daily, 7:30 AM – 9 PM. Admission: US$24/adult, children below 12 years old is free.