If the perpetrators had actually accomplished their mission, it would have constituted the first act of foreign terrorism to be committed on US soil since the 1950's.
Before he departed, I promised Sgt. Strachan that someday, I would paddle the last few miles to the Statue of Liberty and plant the British flag. It would put the trip to rest, it would be complete. After all the work they put in, it would finally be finished.
I assured him I would send photos that he could distribute to all the others. Years would pass before I ever had the opportunity to paddle the Hudson again.
Then, in the year 2000, Jim Tucker called from Paul Smiths College for advice on route plans for a proposed trip from the Adirondacks to the Statue of Liberty. He was to lead a journey from the college's campus on the shores of Lower St. Regis Lake to NYC.
I worked with him to chart out a course with the promise that I would later join them in Jersey City for the final paddle to the statue.
On a brilliant, sunny morning, I launched a canoe with members of the Paul Smiths College Enviro-Trek, along the Jersey shore and paddled on a smooth, flat Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty.
Regrettably, at the time, Liberty Island was closed to the public due to an event scheduled to celebrate the Tall Ships in New York Harbor. Although we landed the canoes on the rocks along the island's shores, we were quickly ordered to depart by the Liberty Island Park Police.
Regardless of the rude welcome, I managed to get photos of my canoe with the British flag, while the Statue of Liberty loomed in the background. I later sent them off to Sgt. Strachan, who distributed them to all the men. For several months later, cards and letters came in the mail from the guys. Everyone expressed their thanks and appreciation.
Lt. Robinson sent along a Regimental tie and a 46th Talavera plaque.
"The mission was finally accomplished," he wrote. "Now, how about that ski trip to the North Pole?"
I fired off a letter immediately, "Dear Lt. Robinson," it read, "The ski trip will have to wait. I'm still recovering from sea-legs. I will likely be too wobbly to ski for several years to come!"
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@ adelphia.net