WJ Editorial

Celebrating The Fourth Of July With Ingenuity, Determination

The U.S.S Kidd is a Fletcher-class destroyer that sailed during World War II, the Korean War and through 1964, and is now berthed in Baton Rouge, La., as a museum ship.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, the annual  Fourth of July celebration held by the U.S.S. Kidd Veterans Museum was canceled this year as a “non-virtual” event. But that didn’t deter the staff of the museum or its partner, Johnson Marine. The museum’s staff arranged for the U.S. Marine Forces Reserve Band to play at the facility on June 25, without an audience, and to have a local television station record the performance.

Johnson Marine’s primary drone pilot and aerial photography specialist, Hunter Svetanics, recorded the band playing on the Kidd. Despite high-density clouds and a heavy chance of rain, Svetanics was able to capture high-quality footage of the band, led by Staff Sergeant Megan Harper. The performance starts on the bridge, and then the brass section band processe on to the fantail. As the brass band bellows over the mighty Mississippi, the rest of the band completes its performance on the bow of the ship with three patriotic songs.

The drone footage aired July 4 on local station WBRZ News to celebrate the birth of our nation.

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We highlight this creative and patriotic gift to viewers because we think it illustrates well the generosity, ingenuity, determination and persistence that characterizes not only this particular group, but all the work performed by the entire inland waterways community that helps keep commodities moving and essential industries producing even in the midst of a viral pandemic whose end is not in sight.

On March 23, we wrote that during the COVID crisis, “We will do our part to provide some normalcy and hopefully good, positive news in a world full of distress.”

Because of you, our readers and subscribers, the news is there. Stories like this are the real stories of America during the crisis. You won’t see them in most national media outlets, but they are stories we are always proud to tell, as we are proud of our readers and the mostly unheralded work they do every day to keep America moving: to build up and inspire rather than to tear down and denigrate. That’s the true celebration of America’s heritage.

On this Fourth of July, we offer profound thanks to all our readers—whether on the rivers or relaxing with friends and family—and hope your weekend is happy, healthy and safe.