Our Opinion: Sailors' visit an opportunity to say thanks

The relationship may have started with a shared name, but it has evolved into much more.

Sailors who make their home within the confines of the USS Jefferson submarine now are visiting their namesake community.

Commander Ed Anderson and six members of the crew are visiting through Tuesday, enjoying events and activities in a more spacious, Midwestern venue.

They also are employing skills much different from those used to operate a Los-Angeles class attack submarine. For example, the carpentry tasks they performed Friday to help construct a Habitat for Humanity home aren't required aboard a state-of-the-art U.S. naval vessel.

Their agenda also includes: visiting Hermann's Oktoberfest, touring the Capitol and meeting Gov. Jay Nixon, and attending a Jefferson City Council meeting.

The commander said, in his experience, the link between crew and community is unique. "It's a nice thing to have and the first I've known of anything like it on any of the other ships that I have been on." He acknowledged, "we get to see a lot of people and everyone is very appreciative of our service."

He characterized the relationship as "a pretty close tie," and called visiting here "a treat for the crew."

The treat for our community is the opportunity to learn more about our namesake submarine and its sailors, and -- most importantly -- to thank them for protecting and preserving our freedoms.

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