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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remembering The Hindenburg

Last Friday evening was the 74th anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst Naval Air Base. Although I was born after the incident, I have seen photos and newsreel footage of the disaster and have long been curious as to the reason behind the explosion.

There is phenomenom called the "Statue of Liberty Syndrome". It occurs when a native New Yorker, who was born and grew up within a short distance of the Statue of Liberty, never visits the historic lady. Surprizingly, it's really quite common. The same could be said about me and the Hindenburg Memorial at Lakehurst Naval Air Station. I was born in New Jersey and lived for some time in neighboring Toms River, yet never visited the infamous scene of the Hindenburg disaster. This is particularly strange, as I was a history major in college and taught United States History in my younger days.

I was pleasantly surprized when my friend, Bob Buchanan, telephoned with an invitation to accompany him to the Lakehurst Air Naval Base for the 74th Hindenburg Memorial Service. Bob, as a teenager, was holding a mooring line under the Hindenburg's right rear engine when the airship exploded on May 6, 1937 and was to be an honoree during the ceremony.

I, and my history buddy, John Yates, were honored to accompany Bob to the Memorial Service. It was a solemn, moving event that took place just a stones throw from the gigantic airship hanger that still dominates the Lakehurst landscape. It's amazing how Bob can remember and speak of the incident as though it happened yesterday.

I posted a slide show of photos that I took during the ceremony, the program booklet, and a few UTube videos of the airship disaster on the Tuckerton Historical Society's Web Site and would like to share them with you. Click on the photo of the Hindenburg below to visit that site.

Pete S

PS- I am reminded of the late Burrel Adams who, as a young boy, remembered the Hindenburg sailing over the family's house on Bonnet Island, adjacent to the Rt. 72 bridge to Long Beach Island. It shows the Adams family in front of their house looking up at the passing Hindenburg. Burrel claimed that it was taken during the day of the explosion.

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