History buffs have the opportunity to take a step back to the WWII era and tour a ship used in the liberation of France in 1944.
The LST 325, which was used to land men on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, is anchored in downtown Nashville along Riverfront Park.
The 328-foot long ship made more than 40 trips across the English Channel to France during the massive operation to end Nazi tyranny in Europe.
'LST' stands for Landing Ship Tank, but to the ship men who served in the war, it meant Long Slow Target.
Today, the LST 325 landing ship is on a much safer mission, riding the rivers of the United States as a sailing history ship. Each year, a nonprofit organization that operates the ship picks a different city to visit.
Morris Dennis, of Nashville, made 45 trips to the beaches of France, dropping off troops, tanks and trucks in ships like this.
"We went in as a replacement right after the invasion," Dennis said.
At just 17 years old, he was driving the ships that would help win the war.
"I was fortunate that I got back," Dennis said.
Jack Stephenson served on a ship like the LST 325 during WWII. He is 86 now and still on board, volunteering as a crew member in seven-week stints for one reason: to honor his shipmates.
"I came back. There's a lot of them that didn't come back," he said.
Longer than the football field at nearby LP Field, LST 325 adds to the history and scenery on Nashville's riverfront, punctuated by the seniors who served.
Feel free to eavesdrop, as you might hear a story or two.
Tours are available now through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
On Tuesday, the ship will head down the Cumberland River to Clarksville, where it will be docked at McGregor Park and be open for tours there through Sept. 30.
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