Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Buffalo Naval Park

Things are going rather well here and I hope we'll be done by Thursday. We worked until about 6 pm and then had an excellent meal at Rodney's, right on Lake Erie. Broiled haddock is one of my favorite fruits.

I have a great deal of difficulty sleeping in hotel rooms and last night was no exception. I was exhausted after dinner but my new mates wanted to do some sight seeing so we shuffled off to Buffalo (a ten minute drive). And I'm so glad we did because we ended up at the Buffalo Naval Park.

This park/memorial is the home of the USS Little Rock, CL-92 (later refitted and redesignated the CLG-4), the USS The Sullivans, DD-537, and the submarine USS Croaker, SS-246. The USS The Sullivans was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers who were killed when the USS Juneau was destroyed at Guadacanal on November 13, 1942.

It has been so long since I have seen a naval warcraft up close that I forgot the sheer size of them. And I got a thrill thinking about these vessels in action. The three of us (all retired cops, only one is a vet - a former Marine who served from 1956-58) swapped stories of our relatives and fathers who fought in the Atlantic and Pacific during WWII.

There is a place near where the Buffalo Sabres play, the Pearl St. Grill. We'll eat there tomorrow night and return to the Naval Park. This time I'll bring my camera.

There is something about a memorial; this one is a living memorial because I swore those ships were alive. You look at these ships and think of monstrous swells in a storm with the huge craft being tossed about like corks. Or the thunderous report of five- and six-inch naval rifles firing at a distant target. Or as the jarhead said when he reminisced about returning from overseas almost fifty years ago, "A thousand of us spent a month puking on a f**g aircraft carrier."

Ahhhh memories...

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