The front (bow) 

The rear (stern)

 I was shocked at the sheer size of this ship…the USS Alabama.  My reaction to it was similar to the first time  I stood next to a cruise ship.  It’s incomprehensible unless you experience it in person. This battleship was commissioned November 1, 1941.  It’s a little over 680 feet long and is registered at 35,000 tons!!!  Under battle conditions…45,000 tons (90 million pounds).  During WWII, she earned 9 Battle Stars and shot down 22 enemy planes.
     The tour was extensive.  There were rooms for every possible physical need from eating to having your uniform pressed, but I wondered how the crew of 2,500 managed to keep their spirits up.  As I walked through the ship for over 2 hours, seeing nothing but thick steel…cold to the touch, bland to the eyes and empty to the soul…I gained a level of respect and compassion for men of war that I’m not sure I really had before.  There were also 129 guns of various sizes aboard the battleship. I suppose silence was the sound most treasured during the many months at sea.  Thanks to all those who served on the USS Alabama as well as in any other capacity during World War II.

BRIGHT SPOT –    I had the pleasure of meeting a woman, a nurse, the other day, who shared with me that she was raising her 2 granddaughters.  She took the first little girl at age 8 months and the other at age 10 months.  It seems that both of her daughters had severe drug addictions and she agreed to keep the babies until they were released from a rehab facility.  They have been released, yet it appears that the temporary care giving has become one of a more permanent nature.  Now Robbie finds herself in a position at age 50 thinking about schools and doctor visits and proper nutrition and potty training, etc.  She loves the girls, almost 3 now, and has graciously chosen to continue to raise them in the absence of  their birth mothers…her daughters, who have chosen not to.  This scenario is not uncommon in current times, yet each one is an act of love and sacrifice and I’m sure a bit of sadness and disappointment.  For all grandparents and other caregivers raising the children of others, may you find joy in your loving gesture! 

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