Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
While enrolled at THINK Global School, students are encouraged to be creative during the course of their studies and travels. When the students document these thoughts, we are often delighted with the results. In “A night on the Big Mamie,” 11th grade student Mark S. compares an earlier experience aboard the Russian cruiser Aurora with THINK Global School’s recent excursion aboard the retired battleship USS Massachusetts.
I WAS FOUR YEARS OLD the last time I was on a battleship. It was in St. Petersburg, Russia aboard the famous Russian cruiser, Aurora, which battled the Japanese Navy from 1904 through 1905. While visiting the Aurora, I went into its living quarters and was fascinated by the conditions. The showers and soft beds that we now take for granted would have been considered a luxury there.
When I stepped onto the USS Massachusetts, or as the crew blandly call her “Big Mamie,” I could feel history permeating throughout her massive steel hull – most notably “The War” (World War II), in which she battled the Japanese Navy, as well. The USS Massachusetts is larger than the Aurora cruiser, but the same sort of feeling appealed to me when I thought about what this ship has been through. As Armand Vegeant, one of a few crew members of the “Big Mamie” who survived was telling us about his experience aboard, I understood the feeling of fear and horror inside during the battle, yet everyone had to stay calm and work as a team to strike the enemy. The ship could fit over 2,000 people, and it is extremely difficult to coordinate everyone’s actions; moreover, although not everyone knew each other, they were united by one final goal, and this was what drove them forward. Mr. Vegeant served mainly inside the ship, so he could not see what was happening outside during the battle. I can imagine how terrifying it was, but the whole crew was working together to protect each other and their homeland, which brought some needed confidence to them.
Now, she has been in the Fall River cove for nearly 50 years, serving as a great memory to those, who sacrificed their lives, defending their homeland in The War.