USS Wasp Remembers September 11th

The crew of USS Wasp (LHD 1) commemorated the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 with a ceremony held in the hangar bay, in port Norfolk.

While television sets aired a 9/11 documentary in the background, the main event commenced with singing the national anthem, followed by the chaplain’s invocation and remarks from Wasp’s crew.

“Our generation remembers where we were on September 11th,” said Lt. Andrea Alvord, Wasp’s hangar officer. “So connected are we to the events of that day, that the topic of September 11th is rarely brought up without someone sharing a ‘there I was…’ story. Wherever we were that morning, we collectively knew that our lives and the world had changed.”

Chief (select) Aviation Maintenance Administration Troney Murrell shared her “there I was” story.

“I thought about the lives that had been cut way too soon; a mother was never going to hold her child again, a father would never play ball again with his children. A son or daughter would never graduate high school or college,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone on the planes, at the towers or at the Pentagon…but still I remember.”

To further strengthen the connection between the victims of 9/11 and the crew, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Jonathan Kaopio highlighted names and backstories of victims at each of the four crash sights.

In addition, one bell was struck over the general announcing system at 846 a.m. in memory of the first jet crash, by American Airlines Flight 11, into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The crew then observed a moment of silence.

Other poignant moments of the ceremony included Chief (select) Information Technology Specialist Michelle Wilson’s reading of the poem, Remember, Remember the 11th of September, and the Wasp’s choir singing, “God Bless America.”

Especially touching for Lt. Tabitha Edwards, 1st lieutenant, were remarks from Executive Officer, Capt. Kurt Kastner. “The XO read an email he received from a family friend in New Jersey who had lost her husband in the attacks while he was on deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” said Edwards. “Even though the letter was written a year after the attacks, it really helped him put the mission in perspective.”

The ceremony concluded with a second bell rung over the general announcing system at 9:03 a.m. in memory of the second crash by United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower, followed by a final moment of silence.

“It was important to the captain and executive officer that the crew of Wasp come together on this day to remember the events,” said Alvord.

Wasp is scheduled to begin a maintenance period in dry dock this month.

Press Release, September 13, 2013