Avast, there! Sail along with me, landlubbers, (well, at least I am) on the SS Jeremiah O’Brien for the 2017 Veterans Memorial Cruise.
We requested permission to come aboard, and logged in at 6 bells. (I think that’s 11:00 AM)
Our little astrological tugboats, ‘Taurus’ and ‘Sagittarian’ pulled us away from Pier 45.
We headed out to sea and the passengers began to mingle about. That’s my brother Kevin mingling with his telephone.
I headed down into the engine room for a steam bath.
A painting on board shows what the hold of the ship where war supplies were loaded would have looked like during World War Two, and what the hold looks like today.
Our original charted course was to take us around Alcatraz, and then out past the Golden Gate Bridge for a wreath laying ceremony in honor of veterans lost. Many friends and relatives of veterans gone had brought flowers, wreaths, and ashes to place in the ocean during the ceremony. However, when we rounded Alcatraz Island and headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge the captain announced that the fog was too heavy for safe navigation, and we changed our course for China Basin, just below the Bay Bridge for the ceremony.
Things got a little tricky as we headed back toward China Basin. I was standing on deck next to one of the crew members when I heard an announcement on his communication radio, “We have an emergency!” and the Jeremiah O’Brien came to a stop in the water. That’s never a good sign! The captain announced that our engines had stalled. Don’t get too far ahead of us, tugboats!
I want to point out, though, that there was never any emergency. Our little tugboat companions on the port and starboard side of the ship kept us from drifting to or away from San Francisco. Nobody on the ship got nervous and the band playing music on deck did not start playing ‘Nearer, My God to Thee’. If you’re going to be stranded on the sea, try to have it be on an historic ship serving free and unlimited coffee, doughnuts, hot dogs, and beer!
It was decided to hold the memorial service where we were stopped. In a touching ceremony, people remembered or said goodbye to the friends and loved ones they have lost.
Afterwards, our little sidekicks stayed with us us back to port.
The Jeremiah O’Brien was at Normandy Beach during the D-Day Landings delivering supplies. In 1994, she sailed on her own steam through the Panama Canal to Europe to be part of the 50th Anniversary ceremonies. Of the thousands of ships that were part of the D-Day landings, the Jeremiah O’Brien was the only one to make it back! That’s quite a feat! In this photo aboard the ship, the crew tips their hats to a passing ship carrying the Queen of England during the anniversary ceremonies.