You’ve probably never heard the term ‘circular run’. A few folks, all very old now, can recall the words and the heart-stopping terror they caused.
Our goal for today, our third day in New Orleans, was to visit the World War II Museum.
We thought we had the transportation situation figured out. The route to the museum is the same as we used two days ago to visit the Garden District. However, transportation confusion reigned. The Garden Street Trolley was suspended because of an event taking place at Lee Circle. Buses were substituted to route around the Lee Circle area. Routing was unclear so confusion took hold affecting locals who use the route every day as well as wide-eyed tourists like us.
It seems that we unwittingly stepped into an unfolding moment of history recorded by, among many others, Richard Gonzales in this article for National Public Radio:
A towering statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee no longer stands over the city of New Orleans.
The hours-long process of removing the statue of the Confederate general who symbolized Southern resistance in the Civil War ended late Friday afternoon as a crane lifted the statue from its perch. Below, a largely jubilant crowd shouted "Take him down, take him down!" and "Hey, hey, good-bye!"
Lee's statue had been a fixture there since 1884.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu began pushing for the monuments' removal in 2015 after Dylann Roof massacred nine black Charleston churchgoers. The New Orleans City Council approved the move later that year.
On April 24, a monument to a deadly 1874 white supremacist uprising was the first to come down. A couple of weeks later, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was taken away. And on Wednesday, a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard was removed.
In what the Times-Picayune reported as "a passionate defense" of the removal of the Confederate statues, Landrieu said the Confederacy was "on the wrong side of humanity."
"These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for," he said.
But clearing out the monuments has been highly controversial. Contractors have received death threats, and Landrieu told The Washington Post that nearly every heavy-crane company in southern Louisiana was also threatened.
The first three removals took place in the dark of night; workers wore flak jackets as protesters both for and against the process picketed nearby. The statue of Lee — who surrendered the Confederate Army to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1865, effectively ending the Civil War — was the first to be taken down in the light of day. [This statue was removed during daylight because it could not be done safely at night.]
In his remarks, Landrieu said the monuments were put up in what he termed "the cult of lost cause."
"This cult had one goal and one goal only: through monuments and other means to rewrite history, to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity," Landrieu said.
"So now is a time to come together to heal and to focus on a larger task," he added, "making this city a beautiful manifestation of what is possible and what we as a people can become."
Richard Gonzales -- National Public Radio, 19 May 2017
I do not wish to engage in the politics of this situation. I record it here simply because we became part of it by happenstance. Repeating my first sentence of this blog post “Our goal for today, our third day in New Orleans, was to visit the World War II Museum.”
The National WWII Museum, formerly known as the D-Day Museum, is a military history museum located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, on Andrew Higgins Drive between Camp Street and Magazine Street. The museum focuses on the contribution made by the United States to Allied victory in World War II. Founded in 2000, it was later designated by the U.S. Congress as America's official National World War II Museum in 2003. The Museum maintains an affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. The mission statement of the Museum emphasizes the American experience in World War II.The museum opened on June 6, 2000, the 56th anniversary of D-Day, and has since undertaken a large-scale expansion project, which is still ongoing as of October 2017. In addition to the original building, known as the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, the museum has since opened the Solomon Victory Theater, the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion, the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, and the Campaigns of Courage pavilion. There are further plans to construct what will be called the Liberation Pavilion.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.
In 2016, the Museum was ranked by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards as the #4 Museum in the United States and #11 in the World.I could spend many paragraphs, even pages, copying and recounting what others have written about this museum. Rather, just let me link you to the museum’s web page
Here are a few pictures from our visit
There are many stories and movies about the submarine service during WWII. I have been on board two WWII submarines — the “USS_Pampanito” in San Fransisco and the “USS_Bowfin” in Pearl Harbor. It strikes me that submarine service in WWII must have been boring, tortuous, exhilarating, and terrifying. I cannot comprehend a crew of eighty-five cooped up in one of those tubular coffins for two or three months at a time.
Would I have done it? — in a heartbeat. Could I have done it? — I’ll never know.
One of the interactive exhibits at the WWII Museum is the fifth patrol of the USS Tang.
Visitors enter into a simulated recreation of the sub, are given a card corresponding to one of the 87 men who crewed the boat during its fifth (and final) patrol, and are assigned a station to crew. The events of 24–25 October 1944 are depicted on an overhead screen, while the visitor "crew" is given tasks to complete. The recreation includes the circular run of the 24th torpedo, which returned to hit Tang and sink the boat.
Upon exiting the simulator, visitors see a wall with pictures of the crew, and can find out if the sailor associated with their card survived the attack. That was impressive.
OUR CAMPGROUNDBayou Segnette State Park
7777 Westbank Expressway
Westwego, LA 70094
GPS: 29.88990o, -090.16239o