On March 12, 2014 the USS Texas had its 100th birthday of its commission into the US Navy. As I have reported before this is the only ship left afloat that served in both World War l and World War II, additionally she is the last of her class (Dreadnought) that is left in the world. This was a big day for the ship as well as the park. The park had spend hours preparing her and the park for all the celebration.
On March 12th, we played host to 32 sailors that had actually served on the USS Texas. This was really a very moving day and these gentlemen, ages 88 to 101, were so emotional about returning to the ship; most knowing this will be their last time there. They had family members with them and after the ceremony, they took their wife, children, and grandchildren to show them where their bunks were and tell stories of their days on the ship. The stories were wonderful and it was just really neat to listen to them talk about that time of their life. Many were in tears as they talked; once gentlemen took us to his bunk and then showed us where he kept his “love letters” from his wife hid so others would not take them from him. Another told us about hiding in the operating room with other crewmember so they could play roulette and cards as there was no gambling allowed on the ship. Another told us about the difference between the crew as the guys that worked in the engine room really did not know those that were top deck as they each had their own areas of the ship.
A luncheon was held for all and their families and each crew member was presented with flag that was flown on the ship on Memorial Day, certificate and an award that was made from the ship. Each had a piece of wood and a piece of metal that has been removed as the ship was being currently recondition with a slogan that stated “It was just wood and metal but you made the ship come alive”.
This is a day I will never forget and one that really brought the ship alive to me. It is really a piece of history and something to be honored and treasured. If you ever get the chance to come to Houston, come visit her and take the time to really “see her” and learn about her. I just hope she is kept alive for the future as she is something we need to hold on to.
Below is a link to the celebration for the Veterans on March 12th:
The following Saturday was a huge birthday party that was open to the public. The weather did not cooperate with us so it did not turn out as well as hoped or planned. There were displays from Texas Parks & Wildlife from all phases of their activities from birding to fishing to historical sites to park hosting. There were also re-enactors from World War II, both Germany and US soldiers, to the Buffalo Soldiers.
Below is the link to the fireworks the night of the Birthday Party. They even loaded the guns on the ship so it appears that they fired. Really neat!!
Hope you enjoy!!