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July 08, 2013
Given that July 4 is just around the corner, this makes it a good time to type my recent vacation into an editorial.

In case you all missed it, and I'm sure you did, I was in Charleston, S.C., for a week several weeks ago. While there, I mostly got some R and R at the beach, but also was able to wander through the old city.

Anyone who knows me is aware of my love of history and all things historical. One of the prime attractions of the port city is a floating museum at Patriot's Point. This museum features three unique exhibits – the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the Cold War-era submarine USS Clagamore and the WWII-era destroyer USS Laffey.

Together, these ships are a monument to American industry, ingenuity and martial excellence for the last century.

The Yorktown in particular was fascinating. This metal behemoth is made so visitors can walk around the entirety of the ship, both above and below decks. Dozens of aircraft of all types are housed inside and on the main deck and the hangar features a large museum dedicated to the ship's extensive military history.

Built in a rapid 16 months, the Yorktown saw extensive service in the Pacific theater of WWII, Vietnam and later the Cold War. It even recovered astronauts from the Apollo 8 mission.

How cool is that?

While I walked through the ship, reading all the signs packed with information and history, my girlfriend spent her time looking at the scale models and planes (she's not much of a reading person). This was an amazing ship and was crewed with amazing, patriotic sailors.

July 4 is a time when we recognize and honor not only the founding of this great country, but also those who kept it free – our citizen-soldiers. America is the greatest nation on the planet in no small part thanks to the sacrifices soldiers make. The ships in Charleston gave me something of an insight into how the sailors lived each day (the submarine was especially claustrophobic). Cramped quarters, loud machinery everywhere and the sun beating down on you would make for an unpleasant trip around the world, I would think.

While those fireworks are going off Thursday as we sit in our parks or in front of our TVs, let's remember the freedoms granted to us through the blood and sweat and sacrifice of our nation's soldiers.

This article appeared in the July 4 edition of the Milton Herald.

Editor, Milton Herald
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