PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The regime change in Libya has buoyed the efforts of a group of people down the shore to return the remains of several American sailors killed and buried there more than 200 years ago, and among them is a native son.
Back in 1804, President Thomas Jefferson dispatched a ship captained by Commandant Richard Somers to the waters off Tripoli to deal with pirates there. But their load of dynamite exploded prematurely, killing all 13 on board.
Today, Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser is among those working on repatriation of those remains, now contained in a cemetery and underneath a public square in the Libyan capital.
“It’s not American soil, and we’re afraid…somewhere down the line…a regime change will take place and someone hostile to America will desecrate those remains,” says Mayor Glasser.
It’s hoped that the new leaders might look kindly on the effort. But first, they have to get legislation here passed to push the Defense Department to make this a priority. An amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would do that has passed the house and is pending in the Senate.
Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio