Nobody thought to pass the hat back then, when the light cruiser San Diego came back from World War II and the citizens of its namesake city lined the waterfront to say thanks.
“A Great Crew, a Grand Ship — Well Done, USS San Diego,” read one dockside banner. Fireboats shot water in the air in tribute. Bands played.
The hat is being passed now, 56 years later. Men who served on the San Diego — one of the war’s most decorated but least known ships — are raising money to build a memorial along Harbor Drive at the G Street Mole.”It will be a fitting way to remind people, especially young people, about what the war was like, about the horror of it, and about the relief we felt when we won it,” said Leonard Shea, a retired Navy captain who served on the San Diego and now lives in Coronado.