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Archived News - 2001



December 8th, 2001

Great story by Arline Bleecher in the Sunday, Orlando Sentinel:


Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Washington DC

December 1st, 2001

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Please send this editorial to your local newspapers or other media outlets you feel are sympathetic to our efforts to Save the United States.

Download Editorial HERE....

Robert Hudson Westover

ctober 28th, 2001

Washington DC --

Our fight to save the national flagship has now, more than ever, taken on a greater symbolic impetuous. It would seem appropriate that we now concentrate our entire effort to ensure the return of the SS United States to her home port of New York City. The new campaign will be entitled Bring Home the United States! and will work in tandem with our hugely successful Save the United States campaign and our grassroots campaign Targeted Legislative Initiative (TLI).

Bring Home the United States! will focus on an intense E-mail and phone-in campaign to the New York Times (and all other NYC media), New York City Hall and the Port Authority.

I am asking all those who live in the New York City metropolitan area to contact the above mentioned sources ASAP and:
  • Inform them about the great ship and her unique history to New Yorkers.
  • Direct them to our Website
  • Report all viable contacts directly to the SSUSF Chairman (Robert Westover) or the SSUSF President (Matt Smith).

In the following weeks the SSUSF will follow up with a New York City targeted campaign similar to TLI.

Together, we can Bring Home the United States!


Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Washington DC

September 20th, 2001

Message From the Chairman..

The horrific events of last week have left an indelible impression on the collective consciousness of our nation and the world. Many of the members of this organization live in New York City and some witnessed the catastrophe unfold directly in front of them. Some of us knew those who were murdered in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon--others of us rejoice in seeing family aned friends alive.

I am sending out this message to let all our members and supporters know that we, as a family of sorts, will have one of our own who may very well be sent into battle, if that should transpire. United States Marine Corps 1stLT Daniel J. McSweeney is now, as I write this e-mail, aboard an air craft carrier possibly destined for the Middle East. Dan has faithfully served on the board of directors of this organization for over two years and was the spearhead for our organization's presence in New York City during Fleet Week last year. In fact, the last time I saw Dan was on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. As a former Marine, I can only imagine what Dan is going through at this moment--more than I would want to (or any of us) be imagining. Please take the time to send Dan an e-mail with words of support. 

For those members who live in New York City, please, when you have a chance, write in and let me know how you're doing.

Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Washington DC

To e-mail Dan:
McSweeney 1stLT Daniel J
E-mail Address(es):
[email protected]

September 5th, 2001


Great press as a story about the SS United States makes the cover of Philadelphia Weekly magazine.

September 4th, 2001

50th Anniversary Celebration

Long Beach, CA -- The Queen Mary, the great rival to the SS United States will be the site of next year's 50th Anniversary Celebration of the United States speed victory over the Queen Mary. The two ships have shared a common history and were friendly rivals for nearly 17 years on the North Atlantic. 

"I can't think of a more perfect venue for celebrating the Big U's 50th Birthday--the irony is almost eerie," Matt Smith, President of the SS United States Foundation (SSUSF) said.

Because the United States is currently not safe for large crowds to gather, the event had to be chosen in another space. The event will be held Sunday, July 7th, 2002 in the elegant Queen's Lounge--the former First Class Lounge on board Queen Mary. (Many know the space as the First Class Dining room from the movie The Poseidon Adventure.) 

The black tie invitation only event will include a book signing for the soon to be published history of the United States and the unveiling of the SS United States 50th Anniversary Poster to be designed by SSUSF President Matt Smith--the Creative Director of Arnold Worldwide in Washington D.C.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the SS United States speed victory over the HMS Queen Mary is an invitation only event because of limited space in the Queen's Lounge on board the Queen Mary. The Foundation's over 1000 members will have the first chance to get invited.(To get an invitation, all that is required by the membership is to respond to me ASAP either by e-mail or regular mail--with and other discount travel services, attending the event--with nearly a years advanced notice--should be very affordable.) 

Once members have responded, and if there is room available, non-members will have an opportunity to get an invitation.


Robert Hudson Westover
Washington DC

July 15th, 2001

Rhoda Amon has been a member of the SS United States Foundation for several years now. With over 1 million readers, Newsday is one of the largest news publications in the nation. Great job Rhoda!

June 12th, 2001

Due to an error with the Foundation database, many email addresses have been lost. If all email list members and foundation members could please re-send their email address to Robert Westover it would be greatly appreciated. Send email to: [email protected]

Thank you,

Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Washington DC

May 3rd, 2001

Legislation is now pending in Congress to save the SS United States! At this time there are no further details. Once more information is known I will post it. What you can do right now is contact your Congressman and ask them to support this legislation. Those of you with Representatives in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania delegations should rally all your friends and family to write, call or e-mail their support. Time is of the essence in this campaign. Go for it!

Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Washington DC

April 25th, 2001

2001 has already proven to be a hugely progressive year for our efforts to Save the United States. It is with great enthusiasm that I announce to the membership the addition of Susan Gibbs to the foundation's board of directors. Susan, the only granddaughter of legendary naval architect William Francis Gibbs, is the senior program officer with the Summit Foundation in Washington D.C. Susan will be working with me and Paul Robinson to officially launch the long awaited SS United States Crew Store on our Website .

The many wonderful successes this year include:
  • Tom Rinaldi's Preservation Magazine (1 million readers) article on the plight of the SS United States appears in the March/April publication of the 11 million member National Trust for Historic Preservation's official magazine.
  • Announcement of new book on the United States to be published in honor of the 50th anniversary of the launching of the national flagship.
  • Dozens of new members from diversified backgrounds have joined since the new year. (The new members include a child in grade school, a naval engineer and a publisher.)

But, as in everyday life, there are unfortunate circumstances that threaten to undo all the progress made. One of these unfortunate circumstances is the resignation--due to medical reasons--of Dan Trachenberg as president of the foundation. Dan, as many of you know, was to write the new book on the Big U. (A task that has now fallen on me.) I think I can speak for the membership of the foundation when I say Dan's presence will be missed on the board of directors and as well as in his capacity as president. 

With Dan's resignation, an administrative sweep has begun in the organization. I will inform the membership of the changes at the 4th Annual Meeting to be held the last Saturday in June of this year, at the Independence Sea Port Museum in Philadelphia. I hope to see many of you there.

On a sad note, I have to announce the great loss of Edgar Macy, a former crew member of the Big U and the founder of a sister organization, the Friends of the S.S. United States. Edgar fought for decades to save the Big U. His efforts will not be in vain. We will save this ship for the memory of not only Edgar Macy, but for all those thousands of the 'Greatest Generation' who worked tirelessly to create what is now widely acknowledge as one of the greatest engineering feats of all time--the national flagship, United States. 

My best,

Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Washington DC

March 27th, 2001

Here's your chance to nominate the SS United States Foundation for one of the nation's most prestigious awards. Lets do it! (Click on the link below for all the details.)

March 1st, 2001

Article About Big U published in Preservation Magazine!

Preservation Magazine, the flagship publication of the 11 million member National Trust for Historic Preservation, has just run a three page article about the SS United States in their March/April issue. The article has two very impressive photos of the vessel. The Foundation, and our commitment to save the Big U, is mentioned through out the story. The issue will be in bookstores by Friday. Barnes & Noble, Bookstar, Borders and Crown Books all carry the publication. Also, by the middle of March, the article will be on the National Trust's web site (Preservation Magazine is read by over 1 million people and is the largest historic preservation publication in the world.)

December 11th, 2000

Year 2000 - End of the year report...

Dear Friends and Supporters;

The opening of the new millennium has brought a new beginning for the storied SS United States.  Never before in the 30 plus years since her lay up has the mighty national icon been closer to being rescued.  Since this foundation secured the SS United States on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999,

The Congressional Effort
Congress is expressing interest in saving her. The process might take a few more years, but with a continued push by members and supporters of this organization, we will prevail.  Please continue to write letters and phone your representatives in Congress.  Encourage your friends and family to do the same.  For every letter your national representative calculates that 100 persons feel the same way; for every phone call 10 persons are believed to feel sympathetic, and for every e-mail 3 are felt to feel like minded.   I will keep the membership apprised of any developments in Congress as they unfold.  

Our membership continues to grow.  With over 1000 members, only the Titanic Historical Society has more members--and their ship is at the bottom of the Atlantic! Please don't forget to send in your membership renewal by January 1st 2001 to be eligible to attend the 4th Annual Meeting of the SS United States Foundation to be held the last Saturday in June.

Media Attention
The media hits were nothing short of astounding this year.  We started out 2000 with a blow to our side that could have greatly crippled efforts to rescue the United States.  In February, as most of you remember, the Philadelphia Daily News ran a scathing editorial likening the Big U to a rusting abandoned car that should be sunk.  It seemed like the three year effort on the foundation's part to turn the tide of public opinion and awareness to her fate was likely sunk as well.

For several days I labored as to what action I should take.  I rationalized about many very aggressive responses to the editors at the Daily News but thought better of it.  Then it occurred to me that the members and supporters of this organization should write in support of the former national flagship.  After all, she was built with our tax payers dollars; she is a triumph of the human spirit--an engineering marvel of the world. So you wrote and wrote and wrote.

The Philadelphia Daily News began printing your letters less than a month after the disastrous editorial appeared.  But the letters kept coming to the newspaper. So many in fact that 27 letters were printed in all (a record for that newspaper and one of the largest for any metropolitan daily).

The Daily News Chief Editor finally called me and apologized for the editorial, she then informed me that the editorial board of the newspaper had reversed its stance and was printing a retraction.  Not only that, but a few months later in the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Philadelphia Daily News, the SS United States got a two page spread.  Not bad for an organization that started with one member!

Then in May, Life Magazine called to tell me that they had been so inspired by our fight to save the Big U that in their last printed edition of the storied magazine they were going to print a full page photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt of the one of vessel's enormous 60,000 lb props.

Later that June over one hundred members of the foundation, from all over the country, showed up in Philadelphia for the foundation's 3rd annual meeting.  That following Sunday the Philadelphia Inquirer--with over 1 million readers--ran a story about the annual meeting.

Aside from several radio interviews, things remained quite for the remainder of the summer until Labor Day weekend when I was phoned by producers of ABC World News Tonight and informed that because of my efforts to save the United States, Peter Jennings had selected me as "one of the most interesting persons of the new century" and that I would be mentioned on the 21st Century Lives segment that night.  The piece was aired that night and throughout Labor Day weekend. I want to thank all of you who wrote Mr. Jennings on my behalf.  That one mention on ABC World News Tonight has generated enough interest nationally that I feel this is one of the reasons Congress is now looking into a viable plan to preserve the SS United States.  

In all our media hits, or impressions, totaled well over 500 million.  Well below 1999's 2 billion, but not bad considering we didn't have any major news breaking stories. But compared to 1998's 100 million, we have done marvelous work!   The foundation's Save the United States awareness campaign was honored by Advertising most prestigious award, the Addy.  Both the brochure and the poster designed by Matt Smith's creative teams at Arnold Worldwide were given the award.

Fleet Week
In July the foundation, through the dedicated efforts of volunteers living in the New York City area, was able to have a very visible presence during Fleet Week when over 5 million persons crowded the city's waterfront to tour the great naval vessels that came into port.

At this point, I'd like those who have dedicated their time to efforts like Fleet Week to write brief stories about their experience in helping out with the rescue effort (no more than 500 words) that Paul Robinson can post on the Web site.  The section will be called "All Hands on Deck".  In your story you can mention your personal interest in saving the Big U as well as what you did to dedicate your time when asked by the Chairman to do so.  

A Future Home?
The foundation is, for the first time, working with a respected development firm in New York City to help find the Big U a home along that city's waterfront.  The firm, Original Ventures, headed by David Plattner has had a keen interest in preserving the United States to much of her original 1950s look as realistically possible thus keeping her gigantic engine rooms intact as living museums to her status as an engineering marvel of the world. The foundation will, with Plattner's group, form a separate organization to head up the project.  Much is still to be worked out.  Many more details will follow throughout 2001.  But rest assured, Mr. Plattner has only the historic integrity of the vessel in mind.  His associate, Michael Kramer, is working as liaison between the two organizations and is every bit as much an SSUS enthusiasts as any of us.  The potential of what we, as a world renowned heritage preservation organization and they as a well respected development firm can do, is astonishing and could, along with Congressional action, bring about a realistic rescue of one of the largest moving objects ever built by man.  

Much good work was accomplished in 2000.  Look for much more in 2001.  As always, I will keep every one updated as developments unfold.  


Robert Hudson Westover

Founding Chairman
SS United States Foundation
P.O. Box 853
Washington DC 20144

Due to the large amount of e-mails received, it is impossible to respond to each one individually.  Please double check the information provided on the Web site link above.  If after visiting you still can't find what you are looking for, please go to the links section a review some of the other Web sites dedicated to the Big U.  Mike Alexander's Web site is the most comprehensive and has information about links to other sites as well. 

Thank you for you understanding. RHW    

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