Lance Manus and his wife of nearly 51 years walk on the main deck on the U.S.S. Little Rock. The couple knows the ship well – Manus spent three years serving on it and now has spent several years coming back to make sure it’s ready for civilians to come on it during tourism season.

“We volunteer our time to come up and do chores here,” said Manus, from the Long Island area. “A lot of it is spick and span stuff but we also do some major work.”

The vets who served on the ship in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s come back annually, sleeping in bunk aboard the boat again. Like many here in Buffalo for the week, Manus doesn’t know a lot of the other sailors but they all share a common bond – spending time on The Rock.

“It’s great to swap stories. This really helps remind people what we do [in the military].”