"There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea,
but the best ships are friendships, may they always be!" -Irish Proverb
Lone Sailor statue is a composite of the U.S. Navy bluejacket, past,
present and future. He's called the Lone Sailor, yet he is hardly ever
alone, standing there on the broad granite plaza, which forms the
amphitheater of the Navy Memorial.
Visitors to the Memorial are immediately drawn to him to peer into his far seeing eyes, to admire him or size him up, to see if he's as tough or as gentle as he seems. Visitors find that he is all that he seems and probably more.
The founders of the Navy Memorial envisioned this Lone Sailor at 25 years old at most, a senior second class petty officer who is fast becoming a seagoing veteran.
As part of the casting process, the bronze for The Lone Sailor was mixed with artifacts from eight U. S. Navy ships, provided by the curator for the Navy in the Naval Historical Center at the Washington Navy Yard.
The ships span the Navy's history, yielding small pieces of copper sheeting, spikes, hammock hooks and other fragments from the post-revolutionary frigates Constitution (Old Ironsides) and Constellation; the steamer Hartford, flagship of Admiral David G. Farragut in the Civil War era; the battleship USS Maine; the iron-hulled steamer/sailing ship USS Ranger; the World War II-era cruiser USS Biloxi and aircraft carrier USS Hancock, and the nuclear-powered submarine USS Seawolf.
One last addition was a personal decoration from today's Navy, one given to sailors in war and peace, the National Defense Service Medal. These bits of metal are now part of the Lone Sailor.
He was getting old and grisly and his hair was falling fast, And he'd often tell his grandchildren stories of the past, Of the ships that he had sailed in and the deeds that he had done, With adventures with his shipmates - sailors every one. Though sometimes to his family his tales became a joke, But the mariners that listened knew whereof he spoke, But we'll hear his tales no longer for Jack has passed away, And the worlds a little poorer - for a sailor died today. He was often rough and ready and a tendency to swear, And he wasn't always fussy in the things he used to wear, Perhaps he liked a drink too much but wasn't one to worry, Another thing he did enjoy was a red hot Indian curry. His memory sometimes failed him but he could get along, When singing a bit of shanty or some other ribald song, We will hear his verse no longer for Jack has passed away, But his friends will miss him, they're in mourning from today. He had seen the best in men by virtue of his trade, And sometimes seen the worst - but called a spade a spade, Tolerant he learned to be, because he understood, People are just human - they are not made of wood. You would find him in the pub - that was nothing new, Born from years of socialising with a gallant crew, All his life he toiled on ships - he never worked ashore, And still an honest citizen he rarely broke the law. Now he's heard last orders and death has drained his glass, His life was full and no regrets `till evermore to pass. So when it comes to crying - do not be very sad, An old man passed away today - a sailor since a lad.