In the SS United States; Nation's Flagship Needs Our Help
Gibbs, Susan, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Susan Gibbs, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
With the U.S. Olympic Committee caught red-faced earlier this month for dressing our nation's athletes in uniforms made in China, one harkens back to the day when Made in America was more than a nostalgic slogan. It is a sad commentary on the state of our nation that the USOC apparently didn't think it would be at all embarrassing to shun American manufacturers when preparing Team USA to go for the gold.
Standing aboard the deck of the SS United States, however, one remembers what Made in America once meant to our nation and the world. Sixty years ago this month, America's flagship shattered the trans-Atlantic speed record and became one of the great engineering achievements of her time. Back in 1952, people from every walk of life and firms from every state in the nation helped design, build and outfit the fastest and safest ship ever conceived. Her record has never been broken.
Larger than the Titanic, the SS United States was a military powerhouse disguised as a modern luxury liner. With a double hull nearly a thousand feet long, she could be quickly converted to carry 15,000 troops 10,000 miles without refueling. While only once placed on high alert, she never saw battle. Instead, she transported more than a million passengers, including four U.S. presidents, diplomats, military personnel, students, immigrants, movie stars and business moguls.
Sixty years ago, the American dream and our national pride was powerfully and beautifully rendered in red, white and blue and in steel and aluminum. When the SS United States shattered the speed record, it was as if the whole country went along for the ride. She cut through the water with the force of a rising world power, united against communism and a beacon of hope for war-torn Europe and those still struggling against authoritarian rule.
When the ship sailed into foreign ports of call, she garnered a sense of excitement, awe, anticipation and visions of what life was like in the land of the free. She represented the most advanced, the safest, the fastest, the biggest and the best - a majestic symbol of a diverse, free and dynamic society.
My grandfather, the designer of the SS United States, maintained that the ship represented the strength of a free society and invidual initiative . …