Get Back Up…Again

Had dinner last night with my childhood best friend.

I hadn’t seen Ricky in over 20 years. He found me on the internet, emailed me, told me he would be in Tampa this week and asked if we could have dinner. We all have a soft spot in our hearts for our friends from our youth.

Remembering that I love a good practical joke, Ricky pulled a good one on me last night. He told me to meet him in the lobby of the hotel and he would be the “balding 300 pound fella”. Certainly not the guy I remembered, but I thought “ok, it has been 20 years”. He must have watched me searching for the BIG guy for some time until he snuck up on me and gave me a big hug. His appearance, just the opposite of his description. Rick has the coolest job – he is a Defense Contractor supplying the Armed Forces with James Bond like gadgets. He is in town for Central Command’s big trade convention.

Rick and I grew up just north of New Orleans. We both have a deep love for south Louisiana even though life have moved us both away. Somehow in our conversation we discussed “hope” and the devastating effects when all hope is lost. Rick lives in New York and was impacted by 911. We both have family that suffered through hurricane Katrina last year. As we mourned the devastation of the World Trade Centers and hurricane Katrina to our home town, I was reminded of a story that a dear friend sent me.

“With a year to go before it even touches the water, the Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS New York has already made history. It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.

USS New York is about 45 percent complete and should be ready for launch in mid-2007. Katrina disrupted construction when it pounded the Gulf Coast last summer, but the 684-foot vessel escaped serious damage, and workers were back at the yard near New Orleans two weeks after the storm.

It is the fifth in a new class of warship designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

“It would be fitting if the first mission this ship would go on is to make sure that bin Laden is taken out, his terrorist organization is taken out,” said Glenn Clement, a paint foreman. “He came in through the back door and knocked our towers down and (the New York) is coming right through the front door, and we want them to know that.”

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in south Louisiana to cast the ship’s bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept. 9, 2003, “those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence,” recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. “It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.”

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the “hair on my neck stood up.”

“It had a big meaning to it for all of us,” he said. “They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We’re going to be back.”

Perserverance – Psalms 10 says “But you know all about it – the contempt, the abuse. I dare to believe that the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won’t let them down: orphans won’t be orphans forever.”

Praise God through the storms of life. We must get back up when life knocks us down.

The ship’s motto? – ‘Never Forget’


One response to this post.

  1. It’s awesome to see your best friend from childhood. Mine lives in Charlotte and I see him probably twice/year. Your buddy got you good, I’ll have to use that one some time.

    I love the story about the USS New York. I wish our plant could have melted some of that scrap. Great post bro!

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