In the United States there are 25 submarine museums, and with my recent vacation to Cleveland, I can now check another submarine off of the list of those that I have visited. (Click the picture for an enlarged- readable view)

As of June 12, 2016 I have toured 13 out of 25 submarines

As of June 12, 2016 I have toured 13 out of 25 submarines


The USS COD (SS-224) is a Gato class WWII submarine that was constructed by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut and launched into service on March 21, 1943.  COD endured 7 war patrols and a total of 221 men called her home during those 7 war patrols.  The sub was decommissioned in 1954 and placed in reserve.  The COD was returned to the Great Lakes, by way of the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway, to serve as a naval reserve training vessel in Cleveland, Ohio where the COD resides to this day. 


 A very busy attraction, the COD sits in Lake Erie and is a short walk from the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Indian’s Progressive Field downtown.  On the National Register of Historic Landmarks, the COD is open to visitors from May 1st through September 30th from 10 am to 5 pm.  

COD Memorial


Each submarine I have visited has something unique about them and is presented in different ways.  The COD’s hull and deck have been preserved.  This submarine does not have a modified visitor access door such as the COBIA or U-505 do.  Visitors to the sub have to climb down a vertical ladder through a hatch to the forward torpedo room in the same manner than the men did during the war.  


I call this the “lived in” sub.  The museum curator chooses to display the submarine as if it were still on active duty during the war.  It’s as if the crew were still on patrol because throughout the sub you will find personal artifacts such as towels, blankets and pillows on the bunks, stuffed bunk bags, cans of food in every nook and cranny, dishes on the tables in the Mess, clothes hanging out to dry in the Engine Room as well as photos of the men who worked in these compartments.  Seeing the sub this way brings to life the picture that this was not only a weapon of war,  but also a place of employment and a home away from home for the brave submariners.  

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Memorial Day Greeting Card

Originally called Decoration Day, today’s Memorial Day we need to take a moment to honor the American heroes who died in service of our country while battling the enemy in order to preserve our freedom.  I chose to honor and remember by creating this.  

From time to time, I enjoy making greeting cards from rubber stamps and scrapbook paper.  I created this patriotic card last year.  It doesn’t have a specific Memorial Day theme, but could be used as a sympathy card for someone who lost a loved one in the military, or it could be used on Veteran’s Day (I chose to stamp Thank You on the inside).


I chose a black card base because it really accented the colors of this card well.

The red and white stripes are actually on one sheet of scrapbook paper that I cut down to size.

I took a navy blue piece of card stock and embossed it with stars and then brushed over the stars with white ink and applied 5 gold brads.

The dog tags are made of grey paper, punched with a rounded edge rectangle punch. At the hardware store I bought some chain and snipped it down to size.  (This makes the card very puffy and hard to send through the mail with regular postage, I would recommend a puffy envelope) I took a grey marker and edged the shape and finally used a sentiment stamp inside that says In everything give Thanks -1 Thess. 5:18.  Another idea would be to hand write a persons name or put dates on the dog tags.  

The remembrance ribbon is a thin red white and blue band that I twisted and glued in the center.  The “Brave and Strong Hero” sentiment was stamped in black on a gold sheet of paper and circle punched.  It is popped-dotted in the center of the ribbon. 

The heartfelt banner at the bottom was stamped on tan paper and distressed with a brown ink around the edges.  It is also popped-dotted for dimension. 

Star Spangled Banner

This is my first official “Military Monday” post after the most reorganization and redesign of my blog.

This week it concerns the War of 1812 in America.

July 4th is coming up this week.  Independence Day.  It’s one of my favorite holidays, not just because of the numerous fireworks and red white and blue, but because it’s the best flag waving day of the year.  I’ve always been a very patriotic person and, in my opinion, most historians are.

This year the Star Spangled Banner turned 200 years old.  THE flag which is the Star Spangled Banner was sewn to a massive size of 30 by 42 feet in 1814 by Mary Pickersgill at her home in Baltimore, Maryland.  It was commissioned by General George Armistead the year before.  According to Smithsonian magazine, she was paid $405.90 for the flag.  The house in which she operated her flag business is now a museum.

The first time I saw the Star Spangled Banner I was unsure of what I was looking at.  It was my first in-depth visit to Washington DC in 2005.  I was at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, specifically to see Kermit the Frog when I saw the exhibit for the flag.  That’s what I thought it was initially.  A flag exhibit.  Then I read on the plaque on the wall that I was about to enter a (darkened) room that contained the actual flag that was raised over Ft. McHenry after a long night’s battle between the British and the Americans.  The very one that Francis Scott Key eyed from an 8 mile distance (Key, a lawyer, was detained on a British ship during the battle) as he began to develop  a poem that would become our National Anthem.

Being in the presence of this flag  was an event that actually made me gasp and cover my mouth in awe… much like you see on TV for dramatic effect. This unconscious reaction was very much real, as well as the tears that flowed from my eyes once they gazed upon the flag.  I was so moved and deeply touched by this historical artifact.  I was glad the room was dark because I couldn’t stop crying for a while.

I like U.S. history because I am so close to where it happened that I can go and see places for real, and not just read about them in books and watch documentaries about them.  So the following year in 2006, when I returned again to Washington DC, I also planned a trip to Baltimore to visit Ft. McHenry and the Flag House in order to complete my tour of Star Spangled Flag history.  Here is a photograph of me standing in front of the display at the flag house museum.  This representation on the outside of the building shows how big the flag was.  I’m a short 4’10” standing next to it.  I’m 2 stripes tall !!

Flag House

Of special note on the features of this particular version of the flag, it is the only one that has a red stripe below the blue field of stars as well as 15 stars and 15 stripes.  200 years later, the flag is terribly threadbare, but that doesn’t account for missing star on the blue field.  One of the stars was intentionally cut out sometime after the war and presented to General Armistead’s family.  Where it is now, is still a mystery.  History says that it may have been presented to Abraham Lincoln at some point.  The “V” that was attached to the flag, post Mary Pickersgill’s stitching of the original flag is also homage to the success of the defense of Ft. McHenry that night.

The flag was still flying in celebration of the nation’s 100th birthday in 1876 in Philadelphia.  It became weak, however, and had to have a special backing attached to it in 1914.  Since then, after it’s donation to the Smithsonian, almost 2 million stitches have been added to hold it together.  Up until the Autumn of 2006 when the Smithsonian Museum of American History closed for renovation, the flag was still hanging.  Now it is in a temperature and light controlled room on a special tilted platform.  No photography is allowed of this National Treasure.  However, within the museum’s other exhibits, there is a tiny picture frame holding 3 pieces of the dyed wool from the flag.  Touching that frame (carefully so security doesn’t see you) is the closest I’ll ever get to it.

The Star Spangled Banner is an automatic “must see” when ever I’m in DC.  And yes, I still cry when I see it.Flag Scraps