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Reunion Memories by Shirley Clark

In the late spring of 1999, we began getting Newsletters and information about the second reunion in Fall River. Dates and times were sent, reservations made, the expectations high that once again old friends would be together.

Fall River is a beautiful place and we were able to drive by water as far as the eye could see.

It was a fun filled four days. Exciting times, wonderful visits, renewed friendships, stronger bonds were made and tears and laughter flowed together.

Fall River was a time to be remembered. We were so fortunate to have Clyde and Mary Riddle living close. Don and Teri Mays also were within five minutes of the motel. Their knowledge of the area was a wonderful advantage to us. Our reunion group numbered 173 people. It was the beginning of an exciting time for all. We went on bus tours and saw things that brought back great memories to men who were stationed in this area.

Bus tours were organized to Newport, RI, Boston, MA and captured views of all of the surrounding areas. These places were home Ports to these men for years. Out to sea and back home again. Memories flooded back to the men. Words like “Do you remember when”? Or “Oh yes, I remember that” were heard everywhere. Quincy Market in Boston was almost like an adventure. The smell of food and the vendors everywhere. One wanted to stand ion the middle of Boston and let the City take control of the emotions. You could almost smell the mixture of baked beans and Red Auerbach’s cigar. Looking around and seeing people from all walks of life and different places coming together as one group made this Reunion truly special.

As we boarded the USS Massachusetts for the Memorial Service, a light mist seemed to fall on everyone. We walked up the gangplank and were seated for the service. Rev. Vern Klingman and Clyde Riddle conducted the Memorial Service as they honored their shipmates who had gone to their greater reward.

As we said our goodbyes and left Fall River to go our separate ways looking forward to yet another day when we would once again be reunited in another place and time.

Shirley Clark

USS Bristol DD857 Historian

October, 1999

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