USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Honors Victims of September 11th

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Honors Victims of September 11th

Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower paused to honor the memory of those that lost their lives on 9/11 by conducting a Patriot Day ceremony, Sept. 11.

Patriot Day is an annual observance on Sept. 11, held in memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died during terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Shanksville, Penn. in 2001.

The ceremony presented images that recounted the sequence of events of 9/11; an IKE Sailor gave his personal testimony of experiencing firsthand the World Trade Center towers falling; and chief selectees conducted a special flag folding to symbolize America’s enduring spirit even in the face of tragedy. The event concluded with the chief selectees lighting 11 candles in honor of 11 U.S. Navy personnel that died at the Pentagon that day, a tribute that also commemorated the 11th anniversary.

“This ceremony allowed us to properly honor the memory of everyone that lost their life on that tragic day so that we may never forget what we lost and what we are fighting for,” said Chief (select) Aviation Ordnanceman (AW) Amber Roth, who organized the event alongside her chief select counterparts.

The devastation of that day provided motivation for a number of people to join the Navy or other services in order to defend freedom and defeat a terror network whose actions had claimed so many innocent lives.

Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class (AW/SW) Jason Torres, guest speaker, shared his personal experiences on that day to his fellow shipmates.

“I wasn’t in the Navy yet, but after seeing the collapse of the towers with my own eyes, and the loss of my cousin at the fault of America’s enemies, it gave me the extra push to join,” said Torres. “I signed up [in] November 2001, and I left for boot camp [in] February 2002.”

Torres was a civilian working for a brokerage firm on the day of 9/11. He was taking a class to get an additional certification for his career field when he heard explosions. His uncle called and told him to find out if his cousin, who was working on the 97th floor of one of the towers, was still alive. Torres and a co-worker ran toward the towers but were halted and forced to find shelter due to the heavy dust cloud and debris that rushed through the streets following the towers’ collapse. Torres retreated from his position near the area and rejoined his co-workers on the Brooklyn Bridge. He would later learn that his cousin had died.

“I’ve only told this story to a handful of people,” said Torres to those gathered at the observance. “By telling my story, it helps my heart not hurt quite as bad.”

The pledge to always remember was emphasized by IKE’s commanding officer, Capt. Marcus Hitchcock, when he addressed the crew over the general announcing system.

“[This day] is not only a day to remember those lost on Sept. 11 [2001], but to honor the servicemen that responded to safeguard our freedom,” said Hitchcock.

Eisenhower is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Naval Today Staff, September 12, 2012; Image: US Navy