The state of Texas is on the verge of doing what the Germans and the Japanese could not: sink the Battleship Texas.
So writes Rep. Ted Poe, (R-Humble), who represents Texas’ 2nd Congressional District, in a recent editorial for the Houston Chronicle.
He says the Battleship Texas has historical significance that demands preservation. “It was in World War I, it was in World War II, it was the flagship on D-Day.”
Launched in 1912, the ship was also the last dreadnought in the world, the kind of warship predominately used in World War I.
After the Navy decommissioned the ship, it was given to the State of Texas, which turned it into a museum and remains in the Houston ship channel.
“I played on it as a kid,” Poe says. “My kids have played on it. My grandkids have played on it. And it’s important that we remember that Texans and other Americans have gone to war and protected our freedom.”
While the state has allocated money to maintain the ship over the years, it now needs to be repaired and preserved.
“It will take about $50 million to preserve it,” Poe says. “And estimates are about $30 billion to scrap it.”
As a judge, Poe would “send probationers out on the Battleship Texas – who were plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters, welders – to help restore the Battleship Texas.”
But preservation now would include dry-docking the battleship in order to do larger repairs and keep the ship from sinking.
Poe believes that a combination of state and private donations could save the ship, particularly because “those that want to scrap it are doing so purely for a monetary reason, and I think that they’re making a bad mistake. So that’s not an alternative. It’s 100 years old, and we need to make sure that it’s preserved for our history.”
At the end of this year, Poe will be retiring after 7 terms in Congress.
“I’ll be in Texas promoting Texas. Which is really something I’ve always done all my life,” he says. “There’s no place like Texas, there’s no people on Earth like Texans.”
Written by Rachel Taube.