Friday, November 25, 2011
The Awesome U.S.S. Alabama!
At our Thanksgiving dinner last night, they had door prizes, and we won a ticket for two admission worth 24.00 to the U.S.S. Alabama Memorial Park near Mobile, Alabama. Not only is there the U.S.S. Alabama battleship there, there's the U.S.S. Drum, a WWII submarine of rare vintage and preserved very closely to its original form, unlike many WWII military ships which have had many parts replaced and reproduced. What's interesting about this park is that this memorial receives ZERO financial aid from the federal and state government to keep running. The park is dedicated to all Alabama veterans who have served in all the military conflicts of the United States.
The battleship is a self-guided tour of three choices--red, green, and yellow....you pick up a sheet and follow the instructions to pass through the ship at designated stations, depending on which color tour you take. Each tour takes about 30 minutes. There is no information about each station on the sheet, just the name of what you are looking at--"On your left is the crew's berthing space. Proceed through hatch 18 into the crew's mess area. On your left is the Gedunk stand (ship's soda fountain)." It would be nice to get some info from a tour person, or someone stationed at the entrance if you had questions. But there's no money for that, they are just hanging on with preserving the ships and planes.
There's a lot of cool stuff here besides the battleship and the submarine. There is a museum of vintage war planes, the spy plane the A-12...It was sad to see the damage from Hurricane Katrina.
Some of the planes have been repaired, but some haven't and are awaiting for funds to be repaired. All funds to operate this memorial come from schoolchildren, vets, and concerned citizens. Apparently, the museum doesn't have any money to fix the damage to the U.S.S. Drum, the submarine that is outside on the grounds of the Memorial. We toured the sub as well today...amazing all condensed hardware and controls jammed into the smallest of spaces...
Tomorrow we leave for Cedar Key, Florida...See you on the road......