Image Source: Digital Horizons
And suddenly she was there, gray green and more magnificent than life in the mist of morning.
Ten days aboard a transport ship from Le Havre or Gibraltar had led to this moment. 1,200 men all topside, all fresh from the horror of Guadalcanal or Burma or the Remagen Bridge or Omaha Beach. They were men in the sense of experience, but most were barely old enough to shit by themselves chronologically. And here they were, all returning home from the dirty business far overseas.
The ship sailed through the Narrows, into the greatest harbor in the world, heading for the West Side piers. And from there, home. Abilene and Albuquerque and Boise and Bangor and Chattahoochee and Consohocken. Des Moines and Decatur and Exeter and Esperance and Frankfort and Framingham. Gainesville and Greenville and even Gettysburg. All ports of call all across the great America. All home.
As the ship passed into the harbor, the Lady, enlightening the world, stood guard, and these men, so recently removed from such unspeakable bravery and valor, began to cry. This was what it was all about. This was the symbol of their cause, the reason they went through such hell and agony. This was the sight they had dreamed of, sweltering in Pacific Theater bunkers or freezing in European foxholes. This is what they were seeing…and what so many of their valued platoon-mates were not seeing. This was Lady Liberty, lighting the way Home and holding high the torch for a world settling into a just and lasting peace.
This lady is what they fought for. And here she was, lighting their way Home.