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CNN Today

OpSail 2000: Ships of Today Pay Respect to Ships of the Past

Aired July 4, 2000 - 2:32 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: A Naval parade called OpSail 2000 wowed New Yorkers on the most patriotic of U.S. holidays: 70,000 vessels, 180 tall ships, 24 warships, and one president.

CNN's Keith Oppenheim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an event where powerful ships of today pay respect to magnificent ships of the past.

The International Naval Review and Operation Sail 2000 are no doubt part pomp and circumstance, an opportunity for sailors from about 60 nations, on Navy vessels and on tall ships, to stand tall for the world.

CMDR. JOHN BRYAN, USS NASSAU: A sailor trains very hard to be able to perform his duties, but to be able to show it off to the American public, it's very important and rewarding to them.

OPPENHEIM: It's also an event that periodically has been mandated by Congress. The first INR took place in 1893, as President Grover Cleveland reviewed ships in New York Harbor. In 1907, Teddy Roosevelt reviewed an international fleet in Virginia. The next review didn't occur until 1957, also in Virginia, then everything moved back to New York. President Gerald Ford honored the bicentennial in 1976. Ronald Reagan celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty 10 years later.

And this time around, President Clinton comes by ship down the Hudson River, makes his way to the Verranzano Narrows, viewing the military gray hulls and noting the international cooperation between many of the world's navies.

CAPT. GERARD MAVER, USS NASSAU: You're working with these guys, not just the Canadians or somebody that's local. You're working with, you know, the English, you're working with the Spanish, you're working with the Italians right out here all the time. So it's a big deal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OPPENHEIM: We're live now aboard the USS John F. Kennedy, and we're going to give you a little quick, live tour to show you the action that's still going on here this afternoon.

First, let's take a helicopter live shot, which shows you the tall ships as they're making their way up the Hudson River. They will turn around at the George Washington Bridge, and then find a place to birth in either Manhattan, Brooklyn, or in the New Jersey area. There is also Naval ships that are still here. We are giving you a live shot of a Destroyer.

And as we pull out, you can see that there's a lot of small craft out here, all waiting for the huge fireworks show that is going to take place in New York's skies tonight. Now, let's take you back to the John F. Kennedy now, where you see an F-18 Hornet fighter jet behind me. I'd love to get a ride on that thing, but nobody will let me.

But still, as we talk about the dimensions of this ship, I think you will get a kick out of this -- it's huge, the USS John F. Kennedy -- the deck is 1,000 feet long. The area of the deck is 4.65 acres. The mess here serves 15,000 meals a day on average, because, on average, this ship has 5,222 sailors on board.

Reporting live from the USS John F. Kennedy, I'm Keith Oppenheim.

Now back to you in Atlanta.

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