Living history — a term you’ve heard but may never have experienced. When my feet made contact with the cold metal Top Deck of the USS LST-325, I began to truly understand how the past can thrive in the present and breathe new life into the future.
Located at 610 N.W. Riverside Drive, the LST-325 offers one-hour tours of the Top Deck, Troop Berthing, Tank Deck, and six other sections. Trekking through the chambers of the ship, I felt as if I’d fallen into a time capsule.
Amplified by vintage equipment and the knowledge provided by tour guide Zach Shaw, it’s as if the echoes of our footsteps would spark something — the doors would open, soldiers would leap from bed, and the LST would slide onto the bloody sands of Omaha Beach once again. According to Shaw, this feeling stems from the ship’s preserved functionality.
“As a safety precaution I ask people please don’t touch any buttons or switches you may see because they still do what they did in World War II,” he says.
To get the most out of your tour, dress for the season and wear athletic shoes to better navigate the stairwells of the ship. There is also a shortened Main Deck tour for those with limited mobility.
“I want people to know they don’t have to go someplace like Gettysburg to see historical artifacts and be able to immersive themselves in the past,” says Shaw. “We have some living, breathing history right here that you can learn from.”
Full Steam Ahead