Monday, August 8, 2011

U.S.S. Alabama

Can I tell you how excited I am that 10 people linked up last week for the R We There Yet Mom's Friday Daydreamin???  So happy - thank you guys all for participating - this Friday will be another post, so join it - super easy fun!

We had so many great adventures this summer that I want to blog about - traveling 9 states and over 2500 miles, you end up having a lot to talk about!

When we traveled home from Florida in June, the kids and I headed up to Illinois for an extended visit while Matt headed home to work (boo).  Lucky for us, my amazingly, sweet Mother -in-law drove from FL to IL with us.  She didn't know how much fun staying in a hotel room with the baby could be....

To break up the 13+ hour drive, we planned a few stops along the way, the first being the U.S.S. Alabama, located in bay in Mobile, AL.  We saw it as we drove thorough Mobile on our way to the beach the week before and knew it would fascinate Brody.  It did not disappoint.

The USS Alabama is HUGE!! She is longer than 2 football fields and taller than a 20 story building.  When she would go through the Panama Canal, she barely scraped through...with 11 inches on each side!  

A short history lesson (cause you know how much I love me some history)....placed into full commission in 1942, the USS Alabama spent most of her time fighting in the Pacific during WWII.  She was decommissioned in 1947 while in Bremerton, WAA. Towed back to Alabama in 1964, she officially opened as a war museum in 1965, by the citizens of Alabama to "honor those brave Men & women who fought in WWII".

She was called the "Lucky A", because during WWII, she lost NO American lives aboard her due to enemy fire.

The USS Alabama sits in the Mobile Bay and is used as a hurricane shelter.  In fact, 18 families were aboard during Hurricane Katrina.

It's a long hike up that gangway!!

We took our time exploring the whole ship - from sitting in gunner-seats (official term?  I don't know...) to climbing up as high as we could go (no a/c....ick) to exploring all the upper & lower decks.

She was set up as it was during WWII.  We saw bunks, which all three kids had to try out.  We saw the mailroom, the "bank" where crewmen would get paid each week.  We saw the barber shop, the ice cream parlor, & the commissary where you could get your cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

It was amazing to us to imagine being on this ship for months on end and how organized and thought out those months would have to be.  I mean, think of this -The cooks had to prepare 7500 meals a day, that's 50,000 a week, over 2.5 million a year...all in the middle of the ocean!!!  We learned that Holy cow!
Coffee in the morning took 4 big 80 gallon pots to make 320 gallons of coffee.  And this is how thy would serve it.....from 2 big spigots.  I'm sure back then, you didn't really care how you got your coffee...just so you could have it!

Battleship Park was created in 1965 to house the USS Alabama, with the majority of the fundraising done by Alabama school children. There is a ton of things to see and do here.  With tanks, planes, and more.

 The park itself houses 22 plans from the past seven decades - very cool to see them all.  And we were also able to go through a WWII nuclear submarine. Talk about claustrophobic!!!

I am so glad that we stopped - it was a little hard to go through everything with the baby(thank you Jan!!), o we didn't stay as long as we could have - but it was such a neat experience.  Just walking back in time and imagining ourself in the middle of the ocean during WWII puts everything into much these young men sacrificed to fight for their fight for everything we now have & enjoy.  I am so glad that my kids were able to see this.  We all walked away with a better appreciation.


Carol Fleisher said...

Great Review of the U.S.S. Alabama! My family is from the Mobile area so I get to see it often. One of my favorite spots in Mobile. :)

Kelli said...

Wow...I never knew all of that. Thanks for sharing. What a great experience to give your little ones.

MiMi said...

Jealous! I would so love to tour one of those ships!

He & Me + 3 said...

What an awesome adventure. I love all the pictures. That is such a cool ship. We went on one similar in Norfolk, VA.

Miller Racing Family said...

Fabulous photos. Trey would just have a blast on this trip. You know we love anything with a motor, lol. Love the photo of Sissy going in the little door.

Connie Weiss said...

I'm baffled by the coffee!!

I've heard of this place.....I'll have to take my kids there on our way to Orlando.

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