Stennis Brings Sailors Home

Stennis sailors await liberty.

Earlier this week one of our editors threw out the suggestion that we needed another reporter to attend the arrival of the USS John C. Stennis, which happened early Friday. Our regular military reporter Ed Friedrich is on vacation, so two of us would be needed to fill in for him. I volunteered, reasoning that I shouldn’t leave Bremerton without having been on hand for the reunion of sailor and loved ones. Not that I’m leaving or anything.

I’m glad I went. I’m always a little touched by parents reuniting with children. The husband-wife and boyfriend-girlfriend thing isn’t bad, either, I suppose. But it’s the kids, man, it’s the kids.

It’s also a piece of history, too. As the Stennis pulled in I tried to get my head around a number of how many times the same scene has been done here and elsewhere. I didn’t do that very long. Immediately I go back to World War II, because that’s a time my parents talked to me about often. My grandfather was a Seabee and, I’m told, was at Normandy. The history of him in regards to my mother isn’t great, but I can do nothing but admire him for being part of that tipping point in history.

This group got to the Bremerton boardwalk early to watch the Stennis pass.

That’s something other people around here appeared to appreciate as well, evidenced by how many people were standing at Bachmann Park and the boardwalk near the Bremerton Marina just to watch the ship pass. They had no one to greet, they just wanted to offer their respect.

Going to the main event required getting out of bed at 5:30 a.m., standing around a long time, struggling to come up with questions that would somehow make this homecoming story different and then walking from the Delta pier to the Kitsap Sun office downtown. That was quite a haul.

I can’t wait for the next one.

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