I had no expectations of Indianapolis.  I assumed it would merely be a way station on the way back to Canada, where we could recharge and get some delicious, cheap American food before returning carefully through Detroit “Don’t Kill a Worker” Michigan.  I was wrong. 

Indianapolis is one of the most vibrant cities I have ever visited.  The downtown is full and alive, people leisurely walking down the streets, enjoying the shops and the many historical sites and monuments.  In the cent(r)er of the city, surrounded by a roundabout, is this 250 foot war memorial and museum. 

I’d also like Rob to include this terrific photo he took of the State Capitol building one night.  Rob is very good at photography.  Mine are always blurry.

But the best part of Indianapolis was the Indiana War Memorial.  A spectacular building and collection of war memorabilia in itself, during our tour, we stumbled upon a group of gentlemen who, at first glance, we believed to be a group of guys hanging out with ham radios.  We weren’t far off.

The USS Indianapolis has the unfortunate distinction of being the largest single loss of life in the history of the US Navy when it was torpedoed by the Japanese on July 30, 1945.  Of the 1 196 member crew, approximately 300 went down with the ship.  The remainder had to endure the waters; with the hypothermia, starvation, dehydration, and, perhaps worst of all, sharks.  When the rescue ship arrived five days later, 316 men survived these terrible conditions.  The story is well detailed in the movie Jaws, for obvious and horrible reasons. 

These gentlemen whom we met were not survivors.  They were history buffs who wanted to keep the spirit of the Indianapolis alive.  They took over the gift shop, filled it with radio equipment they had managed to find throughout the country and bring back with them, and, now, they are, in effect, the USS Indianapolis.

(Some of their working equipment from actual WW2 Battleships.)

Sometimes they have actual survivors of the disaster – these are men in their 80s and 90s- come in and give talks.  They videotape them for the museum’s library collection.  It’s a very impressive operation, and a group of the nicest gentlemen I have ever had the pleasure to meet. 

Check out this link to their site.  Note the visitors section.  Rob and I are listed under this wonderful distinction:  “Canadian guests;lisa and ?.!” http://www.ussindyradio.org/3429s30_lisa&-visitors.jpg

For the remainder of the blog, Rob will now be referred to as ?.!  It’s like Prince.  Too bad Elvis didn’t have a symbol.  Other than being Elvis, I mean.