MARINETTE, Wis. | In few other circumstances is Sioux City seen as an equal to a city such as Detroit, St. Louis or Indianapolis.
Even cities such as Omaha, Fort Worth and Little Rock have bigger reputations.
All are larger. Some have professional sports teams. Their names are in the news, and TV shows and stories originate from them regularly.
Sioux City isn't on equal footing in size or perceived prestige.
But now, in at least one instance, we take our place alongside them, standing on equal, maybe even higher ground.
On Saturday, the USS Sioux City, a member of a class of ships that is the most technologically advanced of all those built for the Navy, was launched into the chilly waters of the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Many of the ships in this class bear the names of those larger, more well-known cities. Currently docked near the Sioux City are the Detroit and the Little Rock. Already deployed is the Fort Worth. The Omaha was launched recently. St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, they're under construction.
Those cities may be bigger, but what Navy officers and contractors learned over the weekend is that of all of these cities that have ships named for them, few, if any, will match the pride and support Sioux City will show for its namesake vessel.
It takes about 10 hours to drive nonstop from Sioux City to Marinette. Yet two dozen or more Sioux Cityans made that trip, in the middle of winter, wanting to see those large letters spelling out Sioux City on the back of the ship and watch it slide into the water.
How many came from those larger cities when their ships were launched? Not nearly that many, Navy officials said.
Time after time on Friday and Saturday, shipyard executives, contractors and high-ranking Navy officers were amazed to see such a large turnout from Sioux City.
They were impressed, and the bet here is that they will continue to be impressed. We might not have all the attractions of those larger cities, but few will equal the amount of pride we'll take in this ship.
In a nod to Sioux City's proud military history, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus back in 2012 named this ship in our honor.
He knew what we all know: On an airstrip south of town, men learned how to fly bombers during World War II. The late Col. Bud Day, a Medal of Honor among the many decorations he received for his heroic service, called Sioux City home.
And Mabus is surely aware of the ongoing commitment of the many National Guard members and reservists from this area.
We, of course, know. And we're proud of it.
Now, the rest of the nation and the world will learn about it.
As Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott said Friday, we're a small city, one that doesn't receive honors like this too often.
But the honor belongs to everyone else.
Soon they, too, will know what we've known all along.
Sioux City has a lot to be proud of, and we'll stand right up next to anyone, no matter how far we have to go, to show it.