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(Joe Lee, Master Chief Retired)

This years reunion was one of cancellations, rescheduling and sadness. The attack on New York’s World Trade Center created problems for the entire nation. Airlines were shut down and security became the #1 concern everywhere. Of the 30 members who had signed up for the reunion 10 had to cancel due to airline shutdown.
The rest managed to trickle in as best they could.

The first day it looked like we would not be able to have a decent reunion and the 2 tours we had scheduled had to be canceled since we did not have the minimum # of participants for them. Sailors have a way of coming through in a pinch however and the U.S.S. Long association was holding their reunion in the same hotel and same dates as ours. They had the same problem of cancellations as we did. Their president approached me as to the possibility of combining tours since they had empty seats for the tours they had scheduled. Between the 2 of us we managed to have a tour both Thursday & Friday. That worked so well we decided to combine the banquet and memorial ceremony as well. By doing so we were able to pretty well fill all vacant seats for the banquet.

I had a letter from President Bush to our association which I read and it brought a hearty round of applause. Their president then read a welcome to all attendees in which he referred to the “Brotherhood of Seafarers” It dawned on me that what he said was true. Here we were 2 different associations from 2 different ships sitting down in an atmosphere of comradeship and friendship. Shipmates! Let me tell you it felt good. We had come together and overcome a tragic situation. It renewed my faith in the American Sailor, the U.S. Navy and our Nation. WE WON! The combined memorial ceremony went well. We used our bell and part of their ceremonial procedures and inserted a POW/MIA memory as well. A very neat ceremony even though cobbled together at the last minute. All in all a successful reunion.

At our business meeting a member had sent a letter requesting that I be re-elected as president. When I received it I conferred with Tom Evans and we agreed that it should be read at the meeting. I then contacted Earl Kazmier who as V.P. would move into the presidents position in accordance with our by-laws to make him aware of the letter. Earl indicated that he had no problem with the request. The letter was read and discussed and I was re-elected. Tom Evans was elected as V.P. Marvin Miller re-elected as Sec/Treas. 3 yr. trustee is William Brashears.

Next reunion will be in Charleston, S.C. Dates are 18-22 Sept. Reunion coordinator is William Brashears. All appointees remain the same except for newsletter editor and Tom Evans has once again stepped forward to fill that important billet. My thanks to him.

As before I give you my personal vow to do all I can to support the association, and you my shipmates, in every way I can. With your assistance we will steam through the stormiest of seas. See you in Charleston.

Joe Lee President