November 2005
By Alan W. Dowd

A Ship of Sacred Steel
Stars and Stripes reports that the Navy’s next amphibious transport docking ship, which just happens to be named the USS New York, is being built with steel from the fallen World Trade Center.

A huge structural beam from the SouthTower—weighing ten tons—will form the core of the USS New York, slated to be commissioned in 2008. But Patrick Cartier, whose son died in the SouthTower on 9/11, argues that the steel from Ground Zero represents much more than the core of a new warship. It embodies “the very soul of the event…all of that steel which housed all the people fell along with them, and they were all consumed in that terrible fireball.” As a consequence, in Cartier’s view, using steel from the TwinTowers to build the USS New York amounts to “a resurrection” of sorts.

According to New York Governor George Pataki, “USS New York will ensure that all New Yorkers and all the world will never forget the evil attacks of September 11.” Once completed, USS New York will have the capacity to carry 1,000 Marines into battle.

The ten-ton span represents a tiny fraction of the 1.6 million tons of wreckage hauled away from Ground Zero.

Ready to Serve
Paul Hackett, the first veteran of the Iraq War to run for a major political office, lost his bid to make history in a special election to fill a vacant U.S. House seat in Ohio.  

Hackett is a Marine reservist and lawyer whose campaign began after he returned in March from a seven-month tour in Iraq. The war—and Hackett’s war experience—appears to have had an impact on the campaign: Although outgoing Republican incumbent Rob Portman routinely won 70 percent of the vote, Hackett lost to Republican Jean Schmidt by just four points—52 percent to 48 percent.  

The war apparently had an impact on Hackett as well. Although he initially opposed the invasion, Hackett now opposes withdrawing U.S. forces. “We can’t cut and run,” he told the AP. 

Hackett is the first Iraq War veteran to run for Congress, but he won’t be the last. The Cincinnati Post and Washington Post report that several other Iraq veterans are running in 2006: 

-National Guardsman Tim Walz in Minnesota
-Bronze Star recipient Patrick Murphy in Pennsylvania
-Marine reservist David Ashe in Virginia
-National Guardsman Hiram Lewis in West Virginia
-Decorated Marine veteran Van Taylor in Texas

As a contributing editor to The American Legion, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.