If you thought it wasn’t possible for a dead President to make a reappearance, you’d be partly wrong. “Teddy Roosevelt” along with more than a dozen swarming members of Somewhere in Time, Unlimited (SITU) were spotted boarding the prestigious Navy vessel, USS Rushmore docked at Seattle’s Terminal 30 on May 21, 2008.
What was all the fuss? To be exact, the USS Rushmore and USS Preble were in town commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Great White Fleet” which had docked in Seattle on May 23, 1908.
Beginning in December of 1907, then President Theodore Roosevelt sent a fleet of sixteen American battleships on a mission of peace and goodwill. They were symbolically painted white. It began in Hampton Roads, Virginia, went around the horn of South America to San Francisco with the intention of visiting our “neighbors” around the Pacific Ocean, but was extended into a world tour. It took fourteen months, 46,000 miles, and stopped in numerous countries. While in the Mediterranean, ships from the fleet helped victims of an earthquake in Italy. The Great White Fleet was a worldwide sensation! It put America on the map! Men fought for a place in line to enlist in the Navy and be a part of it.
Now, 100 years later, the Navy hosted a BEAUTIFULLY orchestrated event. Examples of dignitaries who were invited on board ranged from representatives of the Navy League, present and former Navy Commanders and Directors, various Consulates/Consuls based here in Seattle representing foreign governments, famous war heroes, the media, to a noteworthy “Teddy” reenactor and of course, members of SITU who were dressed in 1908 attire.
SITU’s gentlemen dressed in formal “tophat and tails”, gloves and walking sticks, while the ladies of the group wore lovely gowns, jackets, elborate hats, gloves and parasols.
The group had been asked and invited to be the official “Welcoming Committee” as dignitaries boarded the vessel. Members met people at the head of the stairs coming onto the aft deck on the Rushmore, while other members lined up to greet people as they strolled to the enormous tented area on the aft flight deck. Many, many photos were taken by the visitors and press.
Once inside the tent, a drinks bar serving wine/beer and softdrinks as well as a most lavish meal was spread out for everyone to enjoy. Servings of roast beef, chicken, jumbo shrimp, rounds of bread heaped full of various seafood mixes or vegetarian delights, cheese and cracker platter, fruit platter, breads, and an entire table dedicated just to desserts awaited the hungry celebrants. When a young Navy enlisted was asked who the catering company was, he shyly but proudly replied that the staff on-board had provided all the wonderful food and had done the preparations. A hearty round of applause for a job WELL done!!!
After dinner, everyone was invited to disembark to a tent waiting on the pier where the Navy Band played several tunes. Guest speakers and “Teddy” made wonderful and moving presentations. A young enlisted woman was awarded a sort of “most valueable player” kind of honor for the USS Rushmore. Another young enlisted man awarded from the USS Preble. The beautiful video presentation about the Navy was so rousing, it caused a mature female SITU member to comment, “Sign me up!”
The finale of the evening’s celebrations was concluded by a barbershop quartet from the Navy Band, NW Region singing the original words to “Stars and Stripes Forever”. Wow!!! If I am able to obtain a sound clip of them singing, I shall post it here onto this blog and the SITU website.
Thank you again, Miss Michele, for your efforts to coordinate the celebrations and to invite SITU members to participate in such a momentus occasion. Those of us who were honored to be invited, were impressed by the honor and kindness shown to our group. We are truly blessed to have such perfect examples of military personnel and it was a delight to be counted in relationship with such fine American patriots!
“Hats off” too, to the Officers and Crews of the USS Rushmore and Preble. Well done. Well done. Bully! Bully! Bully!!!!