New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, May 31, 2010

Respect 2

Visiting the battleships during Fleet Week in New York City is enormously popular, and in previous years I have made spontaneous visits on Memorial Day. This is a big mistake - docking of the ships at the city's piers is a well known event, and if you intend to board one, it behooves you to plan ahead and go early.
Lines are long, often resulting in cut offs for boarding that day. To date, I had never been successful boarding any of the ships during Fleet Week.

So, early Saturday morning, I headed to Pier 88 at West 46th Street. There were no lines at all, and I breezed through the entry cue area and boarded the USS Iwo Jima.
Tourists were allowed to board virtually all the various craft - tanks, amphibious vehicles and aircraft. On the flight deck, children were busy in cockpits. Part of one deck was set aside for displays of weaponry - little boys, big boys and men were all busy engaged and engrossed handling the various guns. A bit unnerving - guns are not toys, and war is not a video game. Soldiers know this, and all was well supervised by the Marines on board.

This ship is, of course, enormous, and as always, the sailors are extremely accommodating, patient and untiring, happy to answer any and all questions. I am sure many of the same questions are asked repeatedly throughout their duty with the service.
The city is awash with sailors during Fleet Week, who are very approachable either on the streets or aboard the ships. 

What has always stricken me is the respect military persons always show a complete stranger when approached and addressed. The dialog always conveys a sense of subordination, with you as a figure of authority. Responses are often appended with "yes, Sir" - something I rarely experience.

Although I do not relish or live in a world so predicated on chains of command and authority, I must admit the respect paid is a very welcome thing indeed in a place like New York where, although not the norm, there is always plenty of rudeness to go around...


Luis Gomez said...

Very nice post!

ChickenUnderwear said...

I visited the Iwo Jimi on Saturday as well (at 1PM, the line was 1 hour long). I also notice how nice the sailors were. I figured they were tired of talking about their ship and it's equipment. When my son was using a $50,000,000 helicopter like a playground I asked it crew members if they had any questions about NYC.

llum said...

I visited New York last week. I went to the Iwo Jima as well, but there's no line on wednesday the 28th . There's no people and the visit was so comfortable. Very interesting visit and crew members were very kind with tourist like us.