We long knew the date of May 17 was approaching and soon would be a reality, but little could we have known the genuine outpouring of appreciation and celebration from the greater Mystic community in support of the Morgan’s short but historic first leg of her 38th Voyage from Mystic Seaport, through the Bascule Bridge and down the Mystic River, and over to the Thames River and New London. It was, in its truest sense, a celebration of history and the importance of communities embracing their historic roots and those objects and events that link the community to an understanding of itself. Since 1941, the Charles W. Morgan has helped define Mystic Seaport and the region, but since the earliest days of shipbuilding on the Mystic River, ships like the Morgan would also move down river from the Greenman and Mallory Shipyards to fulfill a career on the open sea. These ships took with them the craftsmanship of their shipwrights and the ambition of their owners, and while most did not return to their birthplace like the Morgan will, all made history in their own right.
We are grateful for the outpouring of emotion and appreciation for the Morgan’s long restoration voyage and the preparation for her return to sea. Hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals have been involved to see her fullest potential realized, and it is hard to express how moved we were to witness your applause and cheers from the banks of the river and from the vessels that followed us. You validated our work in the same manner; I hope, that our work on the Morgan validates the region’s rich maritime heritage.
But this is just the beginning of what is yet to come, as every day, every leg, brings something new to this chapter of the Morgan’s career. How much we look forward to similar celebrations across southeastern New England and ultimately in Boston when the Morgan sits at the same pier as the U.S.S. Constitution. The efforts and talents of all those involved with the Morgan project will be honored on July 21 by the U.S.S. Constitution Museum when Mystic Seaport receives the Turner Award, which “recognizes a person or team of people, professional or amateur, who have contributed significantly to efforts to preserve important vessels or who have made significant contributions to our knowledge and understanding of ship design and construction.” How pleased we are to be honored by another great maritime museum that well understands the importance of our work and the significance of our ship.
Again, many thanks for your support for history, the Morgan, and Mystic Seaport!