Lurking inside those oft forgotten veritable glass dungeons are precious and irreplaceable artifacts - spoils of war once heralded at mastheads and paraded triumphantly through American streets accompanied by cheers. In this year and during the next few, they may warrant an occasional glance, and perhaps a few sparks of recognition.
The US Naval Academy has long been the depository for our service's trophies - that is, the spoils of war taken in victory as remembrances of our great military accomplishments. Walking "the Yard" one can't beat but a few paces without tripping over a Spanish cannon or a ship's bell. Masts, torpedoes, field guns, anchors - trophies take on many forms. But those in the Mahan Hall cases are decidedly more delicate, and arguably more symbolic.
|Look closely under the far archways - those aren't windows.|
|It's been quite a while since those cases were opened.|
Speaking with the professionals at the nearby museum in Preble Hall, it appears they're conscious of the problems, but lacking funds to remove and professionally conserve them. I suppose that's par for the course lately - with all the hell that's been raised by the recent IG report on the Naval History and Heritage Command.
Still, it's worth remembering, and when in the building pausing for a moment to think about where those flags have been.
Bits and pieces like Lieutenant David Conner stuffing Peacock's tattered ensign into his jacket as he struggled into the boat that floated off Peacock's deck as she sank... makes one pause.