A new memorial in Arlington is being dedicated to the USS Thresher, a submarine which sank in 1963, killing all 129 men on board. It was the worst submarine disaster in U.S. history. (Wikipedia Commons/USERR)
Judy Douglas has waited 56 years for this moment.
Her brother Lt. John Smarz Jr. was one of the 129 men who died when the USS Thresher, the most advanced submarine of its era, sank to the ocean floor during a deep dive test on April 10, 1963, about 220 miles east of Cape Cod. The event remains the worst submarine disaster in U.S. history.
On Thursday, the 79-year-old Douglas, of Shelton, Conn., will gather with other family members of the deceased at Arlington National Cemetery for the unveiling of a memorial in honor of the Thresher crew and the submarine safety program that came afterward, which, Douglas said, she considers part of her brother's legacy. She and about 50 others will be taking a bus down from Norwich organized by the memorial fundraisers, who had raised $60,000 in private donations for the marker.
"Long time coming," Douglas said of the memorial. "I mean it's going to be quite an experience."