|Write your Congressman
Dear Friends and Supporters,
October of this year marks the launch of the SS United States Foundation's lobbying effort on Capitol Hill to Save the United States. Volunteers from all over the country will be helping out with this effort which will continue throughout the year and into the next Appropriations session.
We need your help. Below is an outline of an e-mail and or letter you can write to your Congressman. If you're not sure how to contact your representative the URL is www.house.gov/writerep or you can call direct at the Capitol Switchboard--202-224-3121--and get your Reps office number.
The mailing address is:
The Honorable (name of Rep)
United States House of Representatives
Washington DC 20510
and the Senate mailing address is:
The Honorable (name of Sen)
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510
Body of Letter (copy and paste into your writing software):
Dear Sir, Madame:
I am a constituent from your district (state if senator). I feel it is imperative that you hear what I have to say. I am a member of the SS United States Foundation www.ssunitedstates.org a national grass roots non profit with tens of thousands of supporters in this country as well as over seas. I am writing you because, the former national flagship, SS United States, is in its eleventh hour. If something is not done soon to save it, this American icon will end up in the hands of commercial interests. Interests, which in all cases, have expressed no intent in restoring this great vessel to its former glory.
I ask you to please support legislation to have the SS United States declared a National Monument. In June of this year, the United States was added to the National Register of Historic Places a full three years before the 50-year-old minimum requirement. To have the 50 year requirement waved a site has to meet the "compelling national significance" standard. This is the same standard required to have a site declared a National Monument.
Three historic commissions voted unanimously that the ship has 'compelling national significance' and now so has the Federal government. The United States is the only ship in American history to have been listed on the Register before 50 years of age. She deserves to be given to the American people so that generations to come can marvel at such a wonder of engineering.
Presently the United States is being scrapped by a succession of owners. They have reaped huge profits off the auctioning and out right bartering of the ship's treasures. Over $5 million worth of irreplaceable objects are now either lost or in private collections all over the world.
All that remains is her engineering, her architecture and her history. Feasibility studies have shown that the ship could be painted and at least one of her decks opened for tourists for less than a million dollars. What a bargain for such a rich relic of our heritage.
Here are some of the ship's highlights:
Built in 1952, by America's leading naval architect, William Francis Gibbs, the ship was as Frank Buckley said in a CNN broadcast last June, " a symbol of America...a monument to bold thinking". The United States was such a success that its hull and engine designs were placed in nearly all large naval battle ships, and the ship it self was the prototype for the first super aircraft carriers--the Forestall class.
Not only was the ship the fastest, safest and most technically advanced in the world, it was also a luxury liner. Carrying passengers like Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and even a young Rhodes Scholar named Bill Clinton. The passenger manifests read like the pages of Variety. They included: John Wayne, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Ginger Rogers, Marlon Brando, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford and just about any other famous person
of the 50's and 60's
Walt Disney was so impressed with the United States, that he filmed a movie on board with Jane Wyman and Fred MacMurry called Bon Voyage.
Where is this great ship now? Faded and rusting, the United States is currently moored at pier 82 in Philadelphia.
Her current owner has the ship up for sale. He's asking $33 million for the ship. This highly over priced figure is proof that the owner has no intention of having the ship sold to a non profit or any other group that would seek to reclaim it's heritage. In addition to this, the owner has refused to consider tax credits to encourage him to donate the ship.
Our chairman, Mr. Robert Hudson Westover, has been working to get Congress to appropriate money to either purchase the ship for the foundation or grant the current owner tax credits to persuade him to donate the ship. Please help us in this effort by introducing legislation to obtain this ship from the current owner and place it in the hands of a worthy non profit 501c3 organization such as ours. In the coming months, members of the foundation will be stopping in at your office to discuss the issue of restoring the United States. I hope you can find time to speak with them.
The United States was once a great symbol of our nation. Help us restore this symbol so that generations to come can look in awe at such a wonder of human achievement. I look forward to hearing from you on this issue.
If you prefer, Here is a Word file you can open and fill in the blanks. Give this letter to all who are interested.
Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Washington DC 20144