IN A NEW public-service announcement, former Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil has a dark prediction: The United States is "only months away from possibly disappearing forever."
It’s the kind of talk you expect in political ads during an election year, but Vermeil isn’t speaking out for politicians or espousing doomsday theories. He’s rallying support for a $1 million campaign to keep the SS United States from becoming scrap metal.
The ship’s now known more for being the hulking behemoth rusting across Columbus Boulevard from Ikea in South Philly, but for decades it held the speed record for crossing the North Atlantic. Bigger than the Titanic and speedier than the Queen Mary, the ship celebrates the 60th anniversary of its maiden voyage from New York City to England this year. It carried famous passengers including Marlon Brando and Salvador Dali in its heyday.