A Manistee man has led the charge in getting the first public memorial for the USS Liberty. This was a Navy ship that was attacked in international waters by Israel back in 1967.
The American and Israeli governments say the attack was an accident, but survivors say there was never a complete investigation.
The Manistee city council has approved a memorial plaque recognizing the USS Liberty and those who were on the ship when it was bombed and torpedoed.
â??President Johnson grabbed the phone and said there would be no assistance period, hence the hang up. That's it so we were out there all night on fire, sinking,â?? said USS Liberty Survivor, Jack Beattie.
That is what Jack Beattie says happened after the ship he was on back in 1967 was hit by gunfire and torpedoes by Israel forces on the sea and in the air. Beattie was just 19 and a fireman on the USS liberty.
â??The torpedo entered the ship and blew up and threw me around like a rag doll. There were 25 guys killed when the torpedo went off,â?? said Beattie.
The Liberty was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea during the six day war in order to collect information regarding the conflict.
According to a US Navy report, the Liberty was mistaken by Israeli forces as an Egyptian ship. Many on the Liberty don't believe that, saying the ship was clearly marked.
â??It was a clear day. A 5 to 8 knot breeze, and the flag was up even though the Israelâ??s said it was unmarked the flag was up, you could hear it snapped the breeze,â?? said Beattie.
Ted Arens a veteran himself has been working to get the Liberty's story heard and a congressional investigation on what happened.
â??One, is no American should suffer that kind of abuse from the government and number two, is it sets the stage for all of us. You know I think Martin Luther King said, injustice to one is injustice to all, and I feel that way it is, you can't let the government of the united states get away with this type of stuff they have to be honest in their dealings with the American people,â?? said USS Liberty supporter Jack Arens.
Arensâ?? has written numerous letters to Michiganâ??s congressional delegation but hasn't found the support he wants; he hopes this memorial plaque is a start.
â??I hope we get the support from the American people and Manistee is not the first city that makes a plaque for this,â?? said Arens.
If you would like to help you can donate to Manistee County Community Foundation.
The USS Liberty Memorial will be placed in Veteransâ?? Memorial park in Manistee; it is scheduled to be up and on display by this fall.