Sailors who served on USS Massachusetts during World War II reunited for the 69th consecutive year. Bernie Silveira remembers when 800 or more crew members packed banquet halls to reminisce. This year, 13 made the trip.
Silveira, who oversees the reunion, said he thought “with a heavy heart” about making the 69th reunion the last. “It’s a lot of work,” he said. Then he talked himself out of it.
He turned to fellow crew members for the unanimous decision. The 70th reunion (in 2015) — which coincides with the battleship’s 50th anniversary in Fall River, Massachusetts —likely will be the final reunion.
Crew members, in their late 80s and early 90s, gathered on the deck of their warship to reflect with their families. They cast a wreath into the sea in memory of deceased crewmates. The ship’s 5-inch guns fired 21 times, followed by the playing of Taps, God Bless America and Eternal Father, Strong to Save, also known as The Navy Hymn.
From a report by Phil Devitt in the Fall River Spirit, Fall River, Massachusetts