Philly's SS United States shines red, white and blue to honor COVID victims

The SS United States in Philadelphia was shining red, white and blue on Wednesday night as a tribute to all those who have battled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video Transcript

- Tonight in South Philadelphia, a tribute to health care workers, first responders, essential workers, all the people on the front lines of the fight against the virus. Action News reporter Bob Brooks has that story.

BOB BROOKS: The lights are on tonight at the SS United States-- red, white, and blue. It's a tribute to all of those who have helped battle the deadly pandemic. Tonight, we also went inside the nation's flagship. We walked through with members of the SS United States Conservancy, the nonprofit dedicated to preserving the ship and trying to make it new. Inside, it's completely stripped. We interviewed their senior advisor Tom Basile right on top of the bridge, which provides a view for miles.

TOM BASILE: We're paying tribute to every American who, throughout the course of this challenging year, has worked together to ensure that this country will persevere and will come back from this virus.

BOB BROOKS: He says there's no better place that can represent how we've all worked together to combat COVID. The SS United States was built with materials from every state.

TOM BASILE: Only one of its kind, the largest passenger liner ever built in the United States, and still holds the transatlantic speed record.

BOB BROOKS: Basile also says later this year they'll commemorate 25 years of the ship here in Philadelphia. And there's still plans for it to have a future.

TOM BASILE: From hotels and restaurants to conference centers to green energy, you name it.

BOB BROOKS: Philadelphians we spoke with agree it should have won. The American public deserves that.

- And it would be sad to see it go.

- It is sad to see a piece of American history just kind of sitting there rusting.

TOM BASILE: The SS United States has always beaten the odds. She is still a symbol of our nation.

BOB BROOKS: OK, now, the SS United States won't ever sail again. That's not feasible. But officials say all that chipping paint and rust you see can be easily fixed. The ship is still structurally sound, and that's because it is a true marvel of American ingenuity. Reporting in South Philadelphia, Bob Brooks, Channel 6 Action News.