The USS Wisconsin is docked just a couple blocks away from the conference center. It previously served the United States in a variety of armed conflicts around the world, including the first Gulf War, but now it sits in the Norfolk harbor as a museum.
During one of my breaks, I walked down the street to take some pictures.
On a whim, I decided to ask about the price of admission. The attendant noticed my conference badge and said, "Are you a teacher?" When I presented my teacher identification, the man said, "As an educator, you get a substantial discount." He handed me the receipt with a total amount of $0.00 marked on the bottom line. I was shocked. Then he said, "Sir, you're a teacher. Always remember to ask about a discount."
Actually, we also got a 50% teacher discount at Williamsburg.
Years ago, my good friend served on the USS Wisconsin during the first Gulf War.
He told me a story that has always stayed with me. Leading up to the war, they sailed to the Persian Gulf, but once they arrived, they spent several weeks at sea just waiting. The crewmen went crazy with boredom. When they finally got the order and fired the cannons at Saddam's forces, the sailors broke into applause and cheers. In contrast, my friend felt strange to think that his buddies were cheering while others were dying on the other side of their bombs.
For me, it felt strange to stand on the same deck as my friend from all those years ago.
The USS Wisconsin is quite an impressive vessel - well worth the time to visit.