I know a lot of people were glad to see Chris Dodd go as one of Connecticut's two senators. I suspect not many miss him.
And yet, as we approach another OpSail event here in Connecticut, it is hard to forget how Sen. Dodd, co-chairman of both the Connecticut and national OpSail 2000 programs, helped make the New London event so successful.
Another of Connecticut's political fallen, former Gov. John Rowland, also helped make the event here a success, ponying up some $6 million in state funds, a true treasure trove compared to the paltry one-dollar-for-two match, up to a half million, that Gov. Malloy has promised.
But it was Dodd who seemed to really roll up his sleeves back in 2000, even personally weighing in on the fight for tall ships with Boston, which was planning a competing event the same weekend.
Dodd eventually got feted aboard one of the tall ships when it was moored in New London, and was presented, amid a salute by white-suited midshipmen, the Order of the Great Cross from the Chilean Navy.
Those were the heady days of OpSail in Connecticut, when more than a million visitors turned up in New London. This year's event so far has commitments from only two of the big class tall ships.
Dodd, no longer in the Senate, is still on the Board of Trustees of OpSail. But his bio on the group's website mentions only OpSail 2000.
"Dodd's contacts among the chiefs of naval operations throughout South America, as well as his command of the Spanish language, were vital in arranging the participation of South America's tall ships in OpSail 2000," the bio says.
Apparently Dodd's new contacts in Hollywood have not been so helpful in securing ships, at least not ships for Connecticut.
I tried to reach Dodd through the Motion Picture Association of America, where he is now chairman. A personal press aide called me back, and I told him I was calling to ask Dodd about ships committing to coming to Connecticut this year.
I never did hear back. It was a lot easier to ask Dodd something when he was a senator.
In Dodd's absence from the Senate, here is a suggestion: the current Connecticut delegation to Washington should get on the horn and start working to line up more ships for the New London celebration.
I know none of them have Dodd's "command of the Spanish language" and are unlikely to personally score any tall ships from South America.
But they certainly should be able to bring some pressure on the U.S. Navy to ensure a good turnout of warships for the New London event.
It was troubling to read, in a recent news story in The Day, a retired Navy admiral who is chairman of an advisory group for the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebrations, of which OpSail is a part, suggest New London should not expect too many Navy ships.
"You get a bigger bang for the buck in New York or in Boston than you would in New London," the retired admiral said.
Come on. The Thames River is a Navy port. Just this week, the Navy celebrated the opening of a new center at the Submarine Base paid for with millions of Connecticut tax dollars.
We're not at war. The Navy has lots of ships with nowhere they have to be. Fill out the roster for OpSail Connecticut.
Connecticut's congressional delegation needs to help out here and fill Dodd's shoes, even if they don't have a good command of Spanish.
Help line up some more ships.
This is the opinion of David Collins