by Ari Phoutrides
Submitted by Sonny Walker
and posted unedited
Here is an e-mail I received from Ari Phoutrides in regards to the vote by the SC Budget and Control Board to save the Laffey.
Please put this on the website and in the newsletter.
Thanks again for all of your support also.
In this world that envelopes us with clouds of dissent, economic downturns, and massive social problems, your recent e-mail has served as a breath of fresh air to all of us in the Association.
The decision by the State of South Carolina - more specifically, by the members of the Budget and Control Board - to allocate the necessary funds needed to save the Laffey from extinction is a testimony and tribute to the place in history our ship played during its active years from 1944-1975. Equally important, its decision pays a solemn tribute not only to those men who lost their lives on April 16, 1945, but also to all destroyer men who have served their country with honor, distinction, and devotion.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank the members of the South Carolina Legislature for coming to our assistance in this time of need. They can be assured of the gratitude of every member of our Association. We will continue to treat our ship as a hallowed member of our family and will assist in its preservation for as long as each of us is alive and physically able to do so.
My gratitude extends also to those individuals at Patriots Point who have consistently supported the Associations activities and its burning desire to maintain this ship as an historical monument. I am aware that their most recent efforts literally saved our ship from sinking.
From a very personal standpoint, I commend the hard core of individuals from our Association who, over the years, have consistently shown their love and devotion to this ship by their participation in the many work parties, and by their support of the Association and its activities in general. I know each of their Commanding Officers would be proud of the accomplishments of their respective crews.
It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of such a devoted group of human beings. Obviously, I have many memories of my time aboard the Laffey during World War II. These memories have been enriched and broadened through my association with those who served on her in the ensuing years.
I salute the State of South Carolina, its Legislative members, the members of Patriots Point, and my devoted shipmates - all who have played an integral part in the resolution of this crisis.
They have made the name of the USS Laffey synonymous with "The Ship That Will Not Die".
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