National Coast Guard Museum: Breaking ground
Posted by LT Stephanie Young, Saturday, May 3, 2014
Written by Kara Noto.
With Coast Guard Cutter Eagle dressed in colorful signal flags “up and over” her masts serving as the backdrop for the event, Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy, City of New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, Vice President of Cross Sound Ferry Adam Wronowski, Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp dipped their shovels into the soil, signifying the beginning of what will be a tremendous physical transformation to the New London waterfront area, where the future National Coast Guard Museum will reside. While the gesture of breaking ground is symbolic, the emotions of the event were genuine.
“Today marks yet another important milestone in our continuing progress towards establishing a National Coast Guard Museum,” said the Commandant. “I am very thankful for the efforts of everyone involved to honor our Long Blue Line of Coast Guard men and women who sacrificed during war and peace since the founding of our Republic to protect and defend the United States of America.”
The Coast Guard’s history and heritage has been as mobile as its missions, woven into the honor and tradition as a military service, and displayed with pride at modest facilities throughout the Coast Guard. The deed transfer and ground breaking at the future site of a National Coast Guard Museum marks yet another milestone in reaching the National Coast Guard Museum Association’s ultimate goal to provide a more permanent and comprehensive home to Coast Guard history; a home to inform and inspire those that the Coast Guard serves.
President of the board of directors of the National Coast Guard Museum Association and recent Spirit of Hope recipient James “Jimmy” Coleman Jr. affirmed his loyalty to the collaborative effort, “we are ready to go, and we have been ready to go; so we’re using that energy.”
The National Coast Guard Museum Association was formed to “establish, develop, foster and perpetuate the National Coast Guard Museum which will serve to promote historical knowledge of the Coast Guard and its predecessor services among the present and past member of the service and among the general public, and to promote an awareness, recognition and pride the their role in the maritime heritage of the United States.”
The property to be used for construction was gifted to the Coast Guard by the city of New London. Mayor Finizio passed the signed document to the Commandant adding “it is my honor to present to you the deed and title of land in our city for the purpose of construction of the National United States Coast Guard Museum.”
At an event that occurred earlier in the day, the Commandant passed the honor of Gold Ancient Mariner to Rear Adm. Fred Midgette. The ceremony included the passing of the Ancient Mariner’s cap as a symbol to signal the change of watch. The hat currently used is a replica, as the original – a 1913 fore and aft made of beaver fur and worn during the era of the Revenue Cutter Service – is too delicate a relic to be physically worn. The Commandant then carefully held the original artifact for the audience to see, “now if only we had a museum to put this in.”