Great Video – save the SS UNITED STATES
Every ship has a soul – Franklin D. Roosevelt
The great steamships and liners – UNITED STATES, AMERICA, CONSTITUTION, BRAZIL, SANTA ROSA, LURLINE, PRESIDENT WILSON – were the pride of the nations that built them, an integral part of history, and a glorious symbol of an age passed. Their preservation should have been assured as a legacy to be gazed upon with a sense of wonder by the generations that followed the golden decades of transatlantic travel.
Great Britain had the Mauretania, the Olympic, and the Queens, Mary and Elizabeth. Italy built the Rex and the Conte di Savoia; Germany, the Imperator. The French launched the Ile de France and, later, the Normandie. America produced one ship that could fit into that august company of legendary ocean liners: the S.S. United States.
With the exception of only two, they are gone forever. They may have outlived their times, but the magnificent liners of the past earned a greater respect than what was ultimately accorded to them. Some of mankind’s grandest achievements were reduced to piles of metal junk.
Allied bombing during World War II destroyed the Rex. The Queen Elizabeth was consumed by fire in Hong Kong harbor. The Olympic, Imperator, Conte di Savoia, and Ile de France all fell victim to the scrap yards, as did the Normandie after she was ravaged by a blaze during refitting for war service in 1942. Franklin Roosevelt stated that sinking the Mauretania in the deepest part of the ocean was a far more worthy fate for her than the indignity of being stripped naked and then dismembered. He was right.
Marlon Brando and Salvidor Dali enjoying after dinner coffee in the First Class Lounge of the SS United States.