I took my family to Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama. I figured if there was a single place on earth that could not be damaged or impacted by my trio of inquisitive youngsters it had to be a WWII battleship.
The Gray Lady filled the windshield as she came into view. I roused the kids from their electronic comas and pointed out the great dreadnought that had roamed the Pacific some seventy years ago. Their interest spiked as we passed armored personnel carriers, field artillery pieces, various jets, helicopters and even a massive B-52 bomber whose incredible wingspan offered the shadiest place on the grounds.
The USS ALABAMA was massive! We manned all the guns, inspected the turrets holding the sixteen-inchers, explored the engineering spaces, and even took a short respite in the officers’ wardroom. Then on to the aircraft pavilion where our children who were awestruck by an A12-Blackbird.
Next was the USS DRUM. The torpedo rooms were a treat and even had some mocked up “fish” in the storage racks waiting to be loaded into the polished brass tubes.
Finally, I rounded up my crew and herded them towards a WWII veteran who regaled us with tales of his service and explained the ribbons he proudly wore.
It was a great and interactive trip that exposed my children to our military past, offered the great honor of meeting a WWII veteran, and managed to sneak in a little history lesson as well.