- The Washington Times - Friday, August 15, 2008

The slogan “never forget” has been seared in our national conscience as an eternal symbol for remembering what took place on 9-11. That slogan has found its place on a new part of history, which will be an enforcing reminder of what’s at stake when it sets sail late next year. After four years of construction and a spring christening, it was announced this week that the USS New York is headed to the Big Apple in preparation for her Fall 2009 “commissioning” ceremony which will place the 684-foot vessel into active military service.

In describing the The USS New York, Secretary of the Navy Gordo England said: “This new class of ships will project American power to the far corners of the Earth and support the cause of freedom well into the 21st century.” The ship is constructed with seven-and-a-half tons of recycled steel from the fallen World Trade Center, by Fairfax County-based Northrop Grumman. The irony can’t be lost. After terrorists took out the twin towers and killed nearly 3,000 people in its attacks on America that fateful day, a ship has been built with the very steel from those towers and will be used to combat our enemies in the war on terror. As the ship’s Web site so tastefully sums up: “After the commissioning, the ship will go to sea in defense of freedom, taking with her both the steel and spirit of the people of New York.”

The ship’s motto, which was inspired by President Bush, is: “Strength Forged Through Sacrifice. Never Forget.” At the March 1 christening ceremony, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England explained: “I recall the President telling us to Get Ready … to get the military ready. He stressed that this war will be fought on three fronts … diplomatic, economic and military, but that the military must succeed for the Nation to win. He said, ‘This will be a long war - not like removing a mole, but like removing a cancer.’ He said that the country needed to move on and resume life as normal, but that we, who were charged with the defense of America and freedom, could never forget what happened on 9-11. The President said, ‘I will never forget.’ He then went around the room and looked everyone squarely in the eye and said, ‘Never Forget … Never Forget.’”

The fifth ship in the LPD 17 San Antonio class of amphibious transport dock ships, will make her homeport in Norflok, VA.

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