One of the best kept secrets in San Francisco is docked down at Pier 45. The S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien‘s all-volunteer crew keeps this Landmark WWII Liberty Ship immaculate and seaworthy. Liberty Ships were a critical part of the war effort, transporting everything from trucks, food, medicine, weaponry and more to allied troops in Europe and the Pacific.
The O’Brien is the sole survivor of the 6,000 ship armada that stormed Normandy back in 1944. Some 68 years later, the O’Brien still makes a handful of small voyages every year around the Bay. But this big ship has its sights set on another grand journey. Many would like to see the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien go back to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019. The landmark vessel made the voyage in 1994 for the 50th anniversary; financing the journey with local dances and sales of old-scale models of ships and planes. It was truly a story of courage and determination. An 8,000 mile journey of love. According to old news reports, organizers were still raising funds when they docked in England to finance the trip home.
But with America’s Cup on San Francisco’s horizon, who knows what’s possible this time. It could be a new source of revenue for the O’Brien. The ship can provide breathtaking views of the international event in 2013. Here’s my tribute to those who devote endless hours to keeping the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien fully operational and a breathtaking stop for tourists. It would be brilliant to see this landmark WWII Liberty Ship make history once again.