Ship made history with its voyage, passengers

March 25, 2010

With great interest I read Frederick N. Rasnmussen's piece on "Chills at sight of United States' return" (March 12) I'd like to add a personal comment. Not only were I and my young wife privileged to be on that maiden voyage from New York to LeHavre, France -- it was our honeymoon trip -- but a substantial number of young German students shared that privilege.

Just a few years after the conclusion of World War II, the U.S. Congress passed a law according to which young Germans and Japanese, members of the major defeated nations in World War II, were invited to spend a year at U.S. colleges and universities, essentially to learn about the American way of life, about American democracy, all of this at the expense of the American tax payer.

Of course, these young Germans and Japanese were carefully selected to assure success of the program. And the program was successful. It helped to turn former enemies into friends of the United States of America. Participants in this program came to be leaders in their respective countries, countries which became reliable and loyal allies of the USA.

Thus, the vessel "United States" did not only make history by crossing the Atlantic in less than four days, thus establishing a record, but it made history as a bridge builder between Europe and the USA. Members of the U.S. Congress deserve credit for being future oriented. Personally I believe that such programs would be very much worth repeating in these troubled tiimes.

Armin Mruck, Towson

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