Wyatt over at Support Your Local Gunfighter and Captain America over at First In, tell the story of a piece of our nation's history that may soon be lost to us. The USS Olympic, the last surviving ship from the 1898 Spanish American War, has "been part of Philadelphia’s waterfront for 50 years". A floating museum.
Thousands of visitors have walked its decks, seen and perhaps touched what was cutting edge naval technology in the late nineteenth century. It is a link to our past. A milestone on the road of how we got here. Perhaps an indicator of where we need to go.
Right now, the city of Philadelphia is considering scrapping or sinking the USS Olympia for lack of funds to maintain it. Yeah, and we could probably get a better return on our money by turning the Smithsonian into condos and putting it back on the tax rolls!
The museum can no longer afford the ship’s upkeep, McLane said. At least $20 million is needed to tow, restore, interpret, and endow the deteriorating vessel.
I can't believe that in the city, state and federal budgets, there is nothing of lessor merit to cut than this. The USS Olympia has probably provided more educational moments than the entire output of the bureaucrats of the National Department of Education since its inception. And how much are they spending?
ED currently administers a budget of $63.7 billion in FY 2010 discretionary appropriations (including discretionary Pell Grant funding) and $96.8 billion in discretionary funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education.
Efforts should be made to preserve this bit of history while we still can. It's a small crisis compared to the challenges this country is facing today, but if you have the time and the inclination, consider shooting off a letter or email to the politician of your choice and see if something cannot be done to save this historic ship.
Cross posted at Say Anything