USS New York a tribute to the victims and survivors of 9/11
There are certain dates and certain incidents which stay etched into our memories and we can all recall exactly what we were doing when they were happening. The assassination of President Kennedy is one, the recent bombings in London England is yet another. But the one that sticks out in the minds of so many is the horrific happenings of September 9th 2001. On this day the world seemed to stand still in horror not believing what was going on. Some even thought it was another Orson Welles War of the World hoax but as you watched, it became apparent this was for real and was happening in a city which all thought was out of reach of terrorism. Terrorism had come to America in all its cowardly gluttony, terrorism so tragic, that any normal person just couldn’t understand, or take in just what was happening.
Where was I when this was happening? In England just leaving a Gloucester Retail Chamber of Trade and Commerce meeting walking down a street when I caught site of the shocking incident on a Television in a shop window. As I stood amongst a crowd of people all in total shock, I remembered a colleague of mine from New Orleans a guy by the name of Richard Dennery. Richard was still at the meeting so I called him on my mobile. At first he was like all of us, he just did not believe a word I said but after 10 minutes he arrived in tears to watch in total silence the unfolding events. This day will stay with me for the rest of my life and the sorrow I felt from my college will stay with me for ever.
Now to today
ON this day the 2nd November 2009 history has been made with the arrival of a ship called the New York. She will be birthed close to the USS Intrepid as close to ground zero in the city of New York as possible. She will rest there until the 7th of November 2009 where she will be commissioned. Present at this ceremony will be survivors, next of Kin, Relatives, members of the New York Fire and rescue services and people from all walks of life. A fitting tribute to so many brave people whom we owe so much too, people who taught us that true values of life cannot be silenced by acts such as these.
How did this the making of this ship come about.
Soon after this cowardly act of Terrorism on the11th September 2001, the Governor of New York wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Navy requesting that the Navy name a ship, the USS New York on a surface warship involved in the War on Terrorism. This to be in honor of September 11’s victims, this was accepted immediately and work began on the plans for this ship.
The New York was named on 1 March 2008, in a ceremony at Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. Dotty England, the ship’s sponsor, smashed the traditional champagne bottle on the ship’s bow and christened the ship the New York. Several dignitaries were in attendance, including Deputy Defense SecretaryGordon England, members of the New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department, and family members of September 11 victims. The champagne bottle did not break the first time it was struck against the hull of the ship, but the second attempt was successful.
On the 21 August 2009 at New Orleans the ship was handed over to the Navy. The ship’s delivery was accepted by its first captain and commanding officer, F. Curtis Jones, a native of Binghamton, New York. Its 1st voyage was to Norfolk, Virginia, on 13 October2009.
At the moment the ship does not carry the title of USS New York as it has not yet been commissioned. The actual ships commissioning of USS New York will take place on 7 November 2009 in New York City, but today the 2nd November 2009 the ship passed the World Trade Center Site for the first time where it gave the site a 21 Gun Salute. Onboard at this time were many native New Yorkers as approximately ten percent of the ships company are native New Yorkers, all with there own stories to tell.
The USS New York is the most recent US ship to be named as such and comes from a long line of proud US warships.
The first being the USS New York (1776), a gondola type ship, built on Lake Champlain in early 1776, this ship participated in the Battle of Valcour Island and served with honours.
Then came The USS New York (1800), a 36-gun frigate commissioned in 1800 unfortunately burnt by the British in 1814.
USS New York built in 1820, was a 74-gun ship of the line, laid down in 1820. This ship unfortunately never left the stocks, so never went to sea, she burnt in 1861.
One of the first screw sloops named Ontario was laid down in 1863; renamed New York in 1869, then sold while still on the stocks, in 1888.
The next ship saw much action the USS New York, was an armored cruiser commissioned in 1893. It saw action in the Spanish-American War, was then renamed the Saratoga in 1911, then renamed yet again to the Rochester in 1917. It was then decommissioned in 1933 before being scuttled in 1941.
The next USS New York was a battleship laid down in 1911, commissioned in 1914. This ship saw action in both World Wars before being decommissioned in 1946. She was then sunk as a target after surviving two atomic bombs tests in 1946.
The only submarine to bear this name was the USS New York City, she was a Los Angeles class submarine launched in 1977 and retired in 1997.
This then brings us to the latest the subject of our article today USS New York She is an amphibious transport dock, launched in 2007 and partly constructed with metal salvaged from the World Trade Center.
A truly fitting tribute to all the fine people lost on September 9th 2001. I can only end by wishing all her Ships Company safe sailing and good luck on the continuing war against Terrorism.
Kind Regards to the Ships Company of the USS New York