Earlier this month, I attended a reunion of the crew of the battleship USS New York BB34, a ship that served in WW II. There were only 12 of us crew members present although I'm certain there are a few who for reasons of their own didn't attend.
The reunion was held in Baltimore, a city rich in history and a great place for a reunion of this nature.
We were treated to a cruise on the inner harbor of Baltimore and a visit to the nearby Marine Museum, but the highlight was the reunion itself, where we rekindled our friendship with the crewmen and their families.
There is so much history in these men; some served on other ships before or after serving on the New York. One, a Marine (a contingent of Marines served on most capital ships) served on the USS Iowa, the battleship that took FDR to the Potsdam conference. He was present when a photo was taken of FDR, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin. Others served on various ships and took part in numerous invasions.
On the last day of each reunion, a ceremony is held for those who had passed since the previous reunion.
As each name is called, a single bell is rung, then a wreath is cast on the water by a widow or close family member. After a moment of silence and consolation, we adjourn to the hospitality room or a restaurant to have our final meal and some entertainment with music of that era and tell sea stories into the wee hours.
Next morning, after a final breakfast, we're off to our hometowns.
Baltimore is a great city. I wish I could have spent more time there. By the way, it's the city of my birth.
ARTHUR T. CRISTE, Prosser