After stopping at the Visitor Center at the Baltimore harbor, we decided to tour a submarine, floating lighthouse, US Coast Guard ship, lighthouse and the USS Constellation. Four these made up the US Maritime Museum and cost very little to tour. Our history lessons quickly moved up the time line from the American Revolution (Williamsburg) to the Civil War (Constellation) and the two World Wars. If you ever have a chance to visit Baltlimore as a family, I highly recommend it. Any of you Marylanders out there, tell me about other places to visit near Baltimore.
The submarine was our first stop. I can’t imagine living in such close quarters below water for several weeks. Beds were right next to each other and the sub had a small kitchen and dining area. As on all the ships, the captain had his own cook and dining area for officers. The Torsk submarine helped sink several Japanese ships. They kept track of the sunken ships on their own flag. These men were young and brave as they fought against our enemy.
The Chesapeake was a floating lighthouse. Manned by sailors, the Chesapeake helped other ships avoid trouble. There is a painting of a ship headed straight to the Chesapeake. I can’t remember the name of the ship, but it was the sister ship of the Titanic. It rammed the Chesapeake, killing 8 sailors aboard. I don’t think we realize what danger men face as they help and protect others.
Next, we visited the USS Constellation, the last US ship fueled by wind & sails. Before the War between the States, the Constellation was in the Mediterranean to keep the Confederates from getting any ships for their military. WOW…I had no idea the US Navy had forces in the Mediterranean to fight off the Confederacy.
My son was most enthralled with the beds in each ship. The Constellation had dozens of hammocks on the third deck below. If you’ve ever watched Master & Commander, they show what it looked like as the men slept in their hammocks. Interestingly, the officers had more room and more individual sleeping quarters than the Torsk submarine or the Chesapeake.
The second deck was filled with cannons pointed out. Imagine men shooting the cannons, while other sailors are on the top deck pulling ropes to keep the sails pointed in the right direction to catch the wind and sail along.
Other interesting places to note-surgeon’s table and amputation equipment, storage in the hold,
The US Coast Guard ship, the Tamry, was built in the 1930′s and was a piece of shining work when it arrived on the seas. The Tamry was in Pearl Harbor the morning of the Japanese attack and survived the attack. The men were at their stations within 4 minutes and began using the ship’s guns for the first time ever. That’s right they had never had to us the guns until Pearl Harbor. During World War 2, the Tamry was used throughout the Pacific to convoy other ships, as well as fight our enemy.
Many, many more beds on the Tamry…even a barbor shop, manual typewriter, dishwasher, TV and Pepsi can painted on a column to indicate the only way out of the hold in case of sinking.
My daughter walked into the kitchen/dining area and said it reminded her of a school cafeteria. Complete with plastic swivel chairs, cafeteria line with metal rods for trays, and plastic between food servers and sailors walking down the meal line.
Last was the Three Anchors Lighthouse. It was a lighthouse in the middle of Chesapeake Bay, sitting on poles over a high area of the bay. They have since moved it to Baltimore harbor.
As I reflect on the afternoon, I am quickly reminded the danger that I am unaware of. I don’t live in real danger when compared to the men who sailed these ships. I thank God for the men who went before us to defend our nation and our liberties. I also thank God for the men who put their lives in the middle of danger today – military, police, firemen and so forth.