Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Patriotism afloat upon the Mississippi River....

In true me fashion I slept through a once in a lifetime event.  Way to keep the loser streak rolling Jessica!

But I am happy to report that Jon and Hannah were able to go and partake in viewing the USS New York voyage down the Mississippi River from Northrop Grumman's Avondale shipyard.  The amphibious transport dock ship which is an impressive 684 feet long and whose bow stem was constructed using 7 1/2 tons of steel from the World Trade Center that was salvaged after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack was making it's trip from the shipyard to the Gulf of Mexico.  It will continue on to New York where it will commisioned on November 7th and then finally set sail to it's homeport in Norfolk, Va. 

Jon and Hannah crawled out of bed in the wee hours of morning...leaving me peacefully slumbering after a night of debauchery with my girl friends....and headed to the Riverwalk in New Orleans.  Gathered with others in the foggy morning they awaited a view of the ship.  Along the way to their spot they encountered a dinosaur....

.....only in New Orleans.

You couldn't help but notice the World Trade Center in New Orleans barely visible behind the foggy morning.

Hannah while too young when 9/11 occured to remember why it is that Jon was so moved to partake in this moment was just as eager to see the ship.  We may not have gotten a son but it's so true when people call Hannah "Little Jon" because she is definitely her fathers daughter.

The fog was holding on and when the estimated arrival of 7:45am came and went with no ship the text messages began to come through about whether or not they would actually be able to stay around long enough to actually see the ship make it's way down the river.  When we had talked about going down to the river to see ship we had assumed that with the original estimated time of sailing that we would have the kids back in school just about an hour late.  Weather apparently has no concept of childrens school schedule and Jon told me that the ship didn't pass until around 10am.

View across the Mississippi River

Harbour Police signaling that the ship is on it's way

Bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace" and "Anchor's Aweigh" (the sound of this made Jon VERY emotional)


The first sign of the USS New York (sorry it's not a good pic...was VERY foggy)


Ship passing just in front of them.  Service men are standing on the ship, but it's hard to see due to the fog.


USS New York making it's way past New Orleans.

Thankfully they were able to hang on long enough to see it.  In the waiting they were interviewed by the Times Picayune.  A video and a clip of the article are posted on NOLA.com.

Here's the part of the article that featured Jon and Hannah:

Jon Pettus, 33, and his 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, woke up at 4 a.m. to drive about 30 miles from their Slidell home to the French Quarter's Woldenberg Park to wave small American flags at the 260 Navy sailors aboard the ship as they passed.  Hannah was just 2 years old when the World Trade Center's twin towers fell, Pettus said. Though she risked receiving an unexcused tardy day at school, he brought her with him to honor the lives taken by terrorists.

"If we don't remind ourselves, we become complacent, (and) it's just a bunch of lives lost for nothing, " Pettus said. He said the twin towers' steel carried in the ship's frame is " a piece of history".

I am glad that Jon got to be there to see this moment in history and that Hannah was by his side.  This last picture is at Jon's request.....


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