Friday, May 1, 2009

Celebrating the Battle of Manila Bay

"You may fire when ready, Gridley." On this day in 1898, Commodore George Dewey, aboard his flag ship cruiser, the U.S.S. Olympia, commanded the United States Asiatic Squadron as it destroyed the Spanish naval forces in the Battle of Manila Bay. According to many Roosevelt biographers, the young Assistant Secretary of the Navy had much influence on seeing the strategic command given to Dewey the previous year.

Today, you can see the U.S.S. Olympia, beautifully restored and cared for by the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. Tours are open to the public for a small charge which provides admission to the nearby museum as well. The museum features a great interpretive display about the ship, the Spanish-American War and the Battle of Manila Bay. In later years it was the Olympia that carried back from Europe the remains of World War I's Unknown Soldier whose final resting place would be in Arlington National Cemetery and the heart of every true American.

Any trip to or through Philly deserves a stop here.

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