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Remembering USS Liberty at 'Sad Little Gathering'

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On Friday, Patricia Blue-Rousakis plans to be at Arlington National Cemetery where she has spent many June 8ths for the past 15 years.

There, she’ll join with a handful of survivors of the 1967 attack on the surveillance ship USS Liberty, which was struck by Israeli air and naval forces. The group will hear a retired chaplain say a prayer, visit with those in attendance -- some, like herself, who lost family members on the Liberty -- and then go off to lunch in Alexandria, Va.

But even after so many years, and knowing full well that the topic of the Liberty is widely viewed as poisonous, the visitors still note the absence of political and military officials at the observance.

“We talk about it among ourselves,” said Blue-Rousakis, whose first husband, Alan Blue, was a National Security Agency linguist on the ship. He was among the 34 men killed and 174 wounded in the attack.

“Of the family members and the survivors, every single one of us at one time or another has invited our representative from [the House] and the Senate. And no one has ever shown up. No one. It’s a very sad little gathering.”

It’s just not the politicians, she said.

Forty-five years after the attack, no uniformed officers are expected to attend the ceremony.

“They won’t do it. They absolutely will not do it,” she said.

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