Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Repatriation of Wadsworth remains foiled

December 1 2011

Repatriation of Wadsworth remains foiled

Sen. John McCain keeps Tripoli Repatriation Amendment off Defense Authorization Bill

McCain, seen at the left as a young Navy officer, keeps equally young US Navy Lieutenants Henry Wadsworth, Richard Somers and Joseph Israel buried in unkept graves in Tripoli, along with ten other Navy heroes who died fighting Barbary pirates in 1804.

The plan is kept out of a Senate bill, and the Navy says the bodies of the Maine officer and other Intrepid sailors belong in Tripoli.

By JONATHAN RISKIND MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON - Lt. Henry Wadsworth is not coming home, for now. Historians and his descendants had hoped to recover the remains of the Navy officer from Maine who died in 1804 aboard the Intrepid in Tripoli's harbor. But Maine's senators and other lawmakers were unable to get the repatriation of the Mainer and 12 other sailors into a defense bill that's being voted on this week by the Senate.

Their support failed to shake the opposition of the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain of Arizona, who sources say blocked the amendment from being in the final bill.

That dismayed Jack Wadsworth, 63, of Hiram, a descendant of Revolutionary War Gen. Peleg Wadsworth, Henry's father.

"I am a little bit surprised that this is the way it all turned out. I thought that is what they tried to do anyway, is to bring remains home," Wadsworth said.

State Representative William Wadsworth (left) lobbied Senators to bring remains of long lost relative home from "Shores of Tripoli."

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who worked with the American Legion and Intrepid descendants, is disappointed about the defeat but will continue trying to repatriate the sailors, her office said Wednesday.

The Intrepid tried to sneak into Tripoli's harbor during the First Barbary War and blow up pirate ships that were attacking U.S. merchant vessels, but all 13 aboard were killed and washed ashore.

Killed in action in Tripoli Lt. Henry Wadsworth's US Navy Uniform (Maine Historical Society) -

There is a monument to Wadsworth, who was second-in-command on the Intrepid, in Portland's Eastern Cemetery. The 20-year-old officer was the uncle and namesake of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Henry Wadsworth Longellow (right), nephew and namesake of Lt. Wadsworth, wrote "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" and other historical poems well known to every American student

Richard D'Abate, executive director of the Maine Historical Society, said he talked to the offices of Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, about the repatriation effort, and he still hopes Wadsworth's remains can be brought back to Portland. He noted that Libya's current instability could present obstacles to repatriation in the near future, at least.

US Ambassador to Libya Mr. Gene Cretz and US Military Attache place American flags on the five graves located at Old Protestant Cemetery near Tripoli Harbor

The Navy says it believes the sailors already are in their final resting place - Tripoli's Protestant cemetery, where a ceremony in honor of the Intrepid sailors was attended in 1949 by U.S. and Libyan officials and U.S. sailors and Marines.

"Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert considers the Tripoli Protestant cemetery to be the final resting place of the Intrepid sailors who sacrificed their lives for our nation," said Lt. Cmdr. Alana Garas, a Navy spokeswoman. "Navy custom and tradition is to honor the final resting place of those lost in ships and downed aircraft."

But Michael Caputo, head of the nonprofit Intrepid Project, said the cemetery is not well cared for, is in a country that has been hostile to the United States for decades and remains unstable, and has graves that are dilapidated and in some cases unmarked.

Martyrs Square outside the old Castle Fort, where the only martyrs are US Navy heroes buried in an unmarked grave under a parking lot where public rallies are held.

It is possible that some of the men's bodies were dumped into an unmarked grave beneath Green Square, where the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi held anti-American rallies. But Caputo said new research has established that Wadsworth and most of the other sailors are in the cemetery and could be identified and brought home.

The gravesites are "squalid, unkempt and at risk of falling into the sea," said Caputo, a public relations executive who founded the project as a volunteer after he learned of the Intrepid's history from the family of its commander, Richard Somers.

The cause was taken up in Congress by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who learned of the remains of the Intrepid's sailors in 2004 during a visit to Libya.

Rogers said earlier this year, after the House passed his repatriation legislation, that even though the Navy wants to leave the remains where they are, and considers the graves in Tripoli a final resting place, "our country should never leave a fellow American in uniform behind."

The repatriation would be paid for with Defense Department funds and carried out by an agency that locates and identifies veterans of wars.

Sen. Dean Heller (R. Nev.) introduced the repatriation amendment in the Senate

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who authored the Senate repatriation amendment, said Wednesday that he is disappointed by the failure in the Senate but is "committed to making sure these fallen sailors receive the recognition they deserve, and (I) will continue working with my colleagues until this legislation becomes law."

McCain's office would say only that he is "still reviewing" the issue. But a McCain spokesman noted the Navy's objections to repatriating the remains.

Several sources with knowledge of the situation said McCain blocked the repatriation amendment by objecting to its inclusion in the bill as one of many amendments made in one fell swoop by unanimous consent voice vote. A final vote on the bill is expected later this week.

Although the repatriation provision now is out of the Senate defense bill, it was included in the House-approved defense bill. Snowe plans to keep pressing the issue when the two bills are reconciled, her office said Wednesday.

Collins also has registered support for the repatriation effort.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at:

On the evening of January 1, 1804, Stephen Longfellow and Zilpah Wadsworth were married...
within a year the early happiness of the young couple was marred by another family tragedy: the death of Zilpah's brother Henry, who was nicknamed Harry. Harry had set out to prove himself in the new United States Navy. He joined the squadron in the Mediterranean Sea to subdue the Barbary pirates, who had been preying on American shipping. It was one of the earliest demonstrations of American might on the international stage, and the battle of Tripoli became famous. Harry was second in command of a vessel loaded with explosives whose mission was to sneak into the harbor and destroy the enemy's gunboats. His ship, however, exploded prematurely. Harry's death affected the entire family deeply, and Zilpah would soon memorialize him in the naming of her second son Henry Wadsworth.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a commanding figure in the cultural life of nineteenth-century America. Born in Portland, Maine in 1807, he became a national literary figure by the 1850s, and a world-famous personality by the time of his death in 1882. He was a traveler, a linguist, and a romantic who identified with the great traditions of European literature and thought. At the same time, he was rooted in American life and history, which charged his imagination with untried themes and made him ambitious for success.


If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

It is curious to note the old sea-margins of human thought. Each subsiding century reveals some new mystery; we build where monsters used to hide themselves.

Let us, then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.

Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.

By The Fireside : Sand Of The Desert In An Hour-Glass

A handful of red sand, from the hot clime
Of Arab deserts brought,
Within this glass becomes the spy of Time,
The minister of Thought.

How many weary centuries has it been
About those deserts blown!
How many strange vicissitudes has seen,
How many histories known!

Perhaps the camels of the Ishmaelite
Trampled and passed it o'er,
When into Egypt from the patriarch's sight
His favorite son they bore.

Perhaps the feet of Moses, burnt and bare,
Crushed it beneath their tread;
Or Pharaoh's flashing wheels into the air
Scattered it as they sped;

Or Mary, with the Christ of Nazareth
Held close in her caress,
Whose pilgrimage of hope and love and faith
Illumed the wilderness;

Or anchorites beneath Engaddi's palms
Pacing the Dead Sea beach,
And singing slow their old Armenian psalms
In half-articulate speech;

Or caravans, that from Bassora's gate
With westward steps depart;
Or Mecca's pilgrims, confident of Fate,
And resolute in heart!

These have passed over it, or may have passed!
Now in this crystal tower
Imprisoned by some curious hand at last,
It counts the passing hour,

And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand;
Before my dreamy eye
Stretches the desert with its shifting sand,
Its unimpeded sky.

And borne aloft by the sustaining blast,
This little golden thread
Dilates into a column high and vast,
A form of fear and dread.

And onward, and across the setting sun,
Across the boundless plain,
The column and its broader shadow run,
Till thought pursues in vain.

The vision vanishes! These walls again
Shut out the lurid sun,
Shut out the hot, immeasurable plain;
The half-hour's sand is run!

O Ship of State

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
'Tis of the wave and not the rock;
'Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee, -are all with thee!

Paul Revere's Ride (The Landlord's Tale)

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in 'Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light, --
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said, "Good night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade, --
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay, --
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride,
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! As he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled, --
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm, --
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

The Castle By The Sea.

'Hast thou seen that lordly castle,
That Castle by the Sea?
Golden and red above it
The clouds float gorgeously.

'And fain it would stoop downward
To the mirrored wave below;
And fain it would soar upward
In the evening's crimson glow.'

'Well have I seen that castle,
That Castle by the Sea,
And the moon above it standing,
And the mist rise solemnly.'

'The winds and the waves of ocean,
Had they a merry chime?
Didst thou hear, from those lofty chambers,
The harp and the minstrel's rhyme?'

'The winds and the waves of ocean,
They rested quietly,
But I heard on the gale a sound of wail,
And tears came to mine eye.'

'And sawest thou on the turrets
The King and his royal bride?
And the wave of their crimson mantles?
And the golden crown of pride?

'Led they not forth, in rapture,
A beauteous maiden there?
Resplendent as the morning sun,
Beaming with golden hair?'

'Well saw I the ancient parents,
Without the crown of pride;
They were moving slow, in weeds of woe,
No maiden was by their side!'

The Burial Of The Poet

In the old churchyard of his native town,
And in the ancestral tomb beside the wall,
We laid him in the sleep that comes to all,
And left him to his rest and his renown.
The snow was falling, as if Heaven dropped down
White flowers of Paradise to strew his pall;--
The dead around him seemed to wake, and call
His name, as worthy of so white a crown.
And now the moon is shining on the scene,
And the broad sheet of snow is written o'er
With shadows cruciform of leafless trees,
As once the winding-sheet of Saladin
With chapters of the Koran; but, ah! more
Mysterious and triumphant signs are these.

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