Video: Caring for evacuating children

By Dawn Fratangelo Correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/28/2006 1:16:48 PM ET 2006-07-28T17:16:48

It is at this crossroads they meet — aboard the USS Nashville — the weary evacuees and the willing enlisted.

Irna Antar of Maryland, with her two sons and nephew, didn’t know what to expect.

“They told us we wouldn't have any water,” Antar says to a sailor.

“What? No. We have water, we have food. Anything you want,” the sailor replies.

“Just water and a bed,” she responds.

But they got so much more — encouragement for a skinned knee, a hearty meal and a sense of calm after the stormy scenes of Lebanon.

“Everyone I know left,” Antar says. “It seems like they're waiting for something really bad to happen, although what happened already is pretty bad to start with.” 

But for now, they are safe.

The USS Nashville would normally be in the Persian Gulf, transporting Marines. This assignment, though, was a welcome detour.

Outside, it hardly looks like a warship, with dozens of people sleeping on the flight deck. Inside, sailors willingly give up their bunks — even provide child care.

“It's awesome,” says Lt. Ted Kush. “I've been in the Navy 20 years — little over 20 — and this is the highlight of it. It's just awesome to make a difference in people's lives.”

Two worlds: The weary and the willing, on a voyage toward home.

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