The House had approved the measure. The U.S. Senate did the same. When President Richard Nixon officially put pen to paper on May 17, 1972, it was official: five passenger vessels bearing the flag of the United States could now be sold to foreign investors.
But guess what? Those five vessels were meant to be six: Connecticut Senator Lowell P. Weicker proposed an amendment to allow the SS United States to be made similarly available for foreign purchase.
His proposal was resoundingly defeated on the Senate floor, 62-14.
Instead, the US Department of Commerce would be authorized to purchase America's Flagship as part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet, a special group of merchant and passenger vessels that stood to be called into public service in times of crisis. The Commerce Department would buy America's Flagship from United States Lines, Inc. for $12.9 million.
Every step of the way, the SS United States has stood for resilience against all odds. Make your donation today and save a piece of American history!