Letters to the editor

Editor, the Advocate:

There is a historic blue lady in dire need of our help in order to survive. Battleship Texas has a magnificent history. She escorted convoys across the Atlantic to supply American troops preparing for the invasion of Europe.

She used her big guns in anger for the first time when she supported the Allied invasion of North Africa.

Later, she provided gunfire support at Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Texas is the oldest preserved battleship in the world – the only battleship that fought in both world wars. She’s over a hundred years old and needs help from the people she helped protect. When World War II ended, she was far beyond her usefulness. In 1948, USS Texas was stricken from the Navy’s list of ships and became Battleship Texas and the State of Texas acquired her as a museum ship. Battleship Texas is the flagship of the Texas Navy. Hundreds of thousands of Texas children donated nickels and dimes to the fund to permanently moor her at San Jacinto.

Now the Texas needs our help. The state legislature needs to appropriate funds for her rehabilitation. Texas Parks and Wildlife is working diligently to repair Texas sufficiently to move her to a dry dock where she can be put back into a condition that befits her status as the grand old lady of warships. But in addition to a lot of hard work, it’ll take a lot of money – more than it cost to build her a century ago.

She is worth preserving because she is part of us, part of our history, part of who we are. Thousands of sailors lived, worked and fought aboard her. Some died. We owe the Texas a debt of honor to save her; to bring her back into a condition the state can be proud of. It would be disrespectful and dishonorable for us to allow her to be swept into the dust bin of history because we don’t think enough of her to donate a few dollars each year to help save her.

It will take millions of dollars to not only bring her back into a presentable condition but to also build a dry dock where she won’t have to sit in the water which has caused her to rust. With a permanent dry dock, she can live to see her 200th birthday and beyond.

Donations can be made to The Battleship Texas Foundation by visiting their website battleshiptexas.org.

Carl Bankston, Victoria

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