Fourth of July on the U.S.S. Hornet

Help the big ship out during a holiday-fun fundraiser.

RED, WHITE, AND BLUE BASH: Fourth of July events'll happen in every town, in every way, but going to a place of history can add a patriotic dimension to that most patriotic of holidays. The U.S.S. Hornet, an Alameda-based carrier that served in World War II, is one of the most storied spots in the state. There've been other Hornets, stretching back into previous centuries, but the current one has a pretty fabled tale, including a vital role in the Apollo 11 splashdown recovery (more on that major milestone in a moment). The ship pauses each year on the Fourth of July to celebrate America with a caboodle of live tunes, kidly activities, foodstuffs, and a view of the fireworks over San Francisco.

AND A FLIGHT SIMULATOR: Of course you're going to do this, right? One doesn't come across a chance to fly all that often. You can roam the ship as well, visiting the torpedo room, officers' quarters, the Apollo exhibit, the sick bay and the captain's bridge. If your previous Independence Days were big on sparklers and potato chips and a little short on the historical element, this is a fine and educational and poke-around and fun way to gain some ground on that. It's thirty bucks at the door, if you're an adult, and a little less if you're a kid.

ABOUT APOLLO 11... The 45th anniversary of the mission's splashdown is just ahead, and people will gather on the Hornet to remember the carrier's role in recovering the astronauts. Will Buzz Aldrin be in the house for the momentous occasion? You bet. Head for Alameda on Saturday, July 26 for all of the space-historic doings.

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