Now that Gaddafi is gone…

Roamy here. Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and of course, you know the line in the Marine hymn, “to the shores of Tripoli”, referencing the First Barbary War.

Tripoli was a Berber state, nominally governed by the Ottoman Empire. In October 1803, the frigate USS Philadelphia had run aground and her crew taken prisoner. Tripoli was using it as a gun battery. The US Navy, in turn, had captured a Tripolitan ketch and rechristened it the USS Intrepid. In February 1804, it was disguised as a Maltese merchant ship for a daring raid where Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and his men recaptured the Philadelphia in 10 minutes. Unable to move her, they then burned the Philadelphia.

The Intrepid would return to Tripoli that September as a fire ship, intended to take out as many of the corsairs as possible. Unfortunately, it exploded prematurely, killing Master Commandant Richard Somers and his crew. Eight of the 13 sailors are buried beneath Green Square (aka Martyrs Square) in Tripoli, with the other five buried in a nearby cemetery normally used for diplomats. Several politicians have been involved in trying to transfer the crew’s remains back home, now that Gaddafi is gone.

Your thoughts, dear reader, on whether they should be brought home, or if Tripoli is their final resting place?

The Tripoli Monument at Annapolis honors three of the men killed in the Intrepid explosion – Somers, Henry Wadsworth (uncle to the poet Longfellow), and Joseph Israel. It also honors James Decatur (younger brother of Stephen), James Caldwell, and John Dorsey, who were killed during the bombardment of Tripoli in August 1804.

The inscription reads "TO THE MEMORY OF SOMERS, CALDWELL, DECATUR, WADSWORTH, DORSEY, ISRAEL."

There are so many people who serve who aren’t remembered in Italian marble or Wikipedia. I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the veterans who have served our country – Happy Veterans Day to all of you.

10 thoughts on “Now that Gaddafi is gone…”

  1. I should say, leave them to their rest. That square has been their home longer than their birthplace at this point.

  2. I’d bring them home to an honored burial. Place a large monument at the site, perhaps at the NOB in NORVA. The burial site where their remains rest now is not an honored site for them, but makes them something of a trophy for the Islamocrazies.

  3. With the tide turning in Libya towards Shari’s law, I worry that the remains and memorial to these fine men will be desecrated as is the radical habit. I would say at this time that it is more….prudent to bring them home.

    And a deepfelt thanks to all who served, and still serve 🙂

  4. Being that Richard Somers, came from South Jersey, this is where he should return. The stop in Tripoli was TDY or a “Minor Delay in Route” HOME!

    My thought echo, Aggie’s comment, especially the last line.

  5. While Michelangelo valued Italian Carrara marble above all others, and it is used for many monuments, it is worth noting that not all monuments are made of Italian marble.

    The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is made of Yule Marble, mined in Colorado.

    The headstones at Arlington National Cemetery are made of white marble from Barre, VT.

    The Lincoln Memorial is made of several types of U.S. marble. The exterior is Yule Marble; the ceiling is Sylacauga Marble from Alabama; the actual statue of Lincoln is made of Etowah Marble, from Pickens County, GA.; and the floor is pink Tennessee Marble.

    1. Thanks, Bill, that’s good to know.

      One of the stories about the Tripoli monument was that it was used as ballast in the USS Constitution on the way home from the Mediterranean.

  6. Somers Point, NJ 08244 was the man’s home, They bought the land from my family. The Somers Mansion still stands tall. North Jersey and South Jersey are two completely different worlds.

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