The Legacy Project: Brenda Llanas

The Legacy Project is an on-going initiative aimed at collecting, preserving, and archiving photographs, visual materials, and the stories related to passengers and crew who traveled in, helped build, and/or served aboard our nation’s flagship, the SS United States. For more information, visit our website. Want to share your story? Email us at


In August of 1966, Brenda Llanas embarked on a voyage aboard the SS United States from New York harbor to Le Havre, France and Southampton, England.  As the American shore disappeared on the horizon, Brenda was captivated by the ship’s powerful wake—the imagery of the gentle, rolling waves was forever imprinted on her memory.

Deck and wake

View of deck with the ship’s wake shown in the background. Photo courtesy Robert G. Lenzer.

She also recollects with no small amount of excitement that “unknown to most people on board the ship, Jimmy Stewart was on board!”  Brenda discovered this Hollywood star aboard the United States while roaming the ship and observing her fellow passengers—one of her favorite cruising past times.

To this day, Brenda vividly recalls the ever-shrinking New York City skyline as she sailed towards Europe.  When recalling her trip aboard “America’s Flagship,” she is immediately flooded with feelings of happiness and joy.  Brenda is hopeful that the SS United States will be saved and continue to create such powerful memories for generations to come.