By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rusty Pang, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Public Affairs
USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs Officer
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) remembered the 9/11 attacks with a ceremony that included Newport News, Va., officials and the commanding officer of sister ship USS George Washington (CVN 73).
A flash moment in history is when an event impacts a nation so heavily, that it becomes commonplace for people to remember exactly how they felt at the exact moment they received the news of the event. Some examples of flash moments are John F. Kennedy's assassination on Nov. 22, 1963; the first moon landing on July 20, 1969; and the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.
The attack on Sept. 11, 2001 that claimed the lives of 2,977 victims was the largest terrorist attack ever carried out on American soil. Events like 9/11 leave a lasting impression for generations and we hold remembrance ceremonies to remind ourselves of that dark day and to honor those we lost.
In the city of Newport News, Va., Sailors stationed aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) gathered along with members of the Newport News police and fire departments at Victory Landing Park to take a few moments to solemnly remember the events and people lost during the terrorist attack 13 years ago.
Lincoln's Commanding Officer, Capt. Ronald Ravela, introduced the keynote address, given by retired Rear Adm. William McCarthy, who commanded USS George Washington (CVN 73) as it famously provided air defense off the coast of New York city following the 9/11 attacks.
Lincoln Sailors were humbled and honored to play their role in the remembrance ceremony.
"It is an honor to be here. I'll never forget what happened 13 years ago," said Chief (Sel) Aviation Structural Mechanic Joanna Madrid. "I just want others to know why we are here. We are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice."
During the ceremony, Madrid read the poem "Names" while a Newport News police officer played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipe. For Madrid, 9/11 represents more than a tragic event-- for her it was the catalyst for deciding to join the Navy.
"I was operating a forklift in a warehouse moving holiday items when someone heard the news on the radio," Madrid said. "I stopped and stared. It was this shocking feeling of disbelief. It didn't seem real. I visited the recruiter the next day. The rest is history."
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Dominique Bowder was in the 11th grade when she heard the news.
"I thought it was a movie. It was surreal," Bowder said. "I remember feeling an incredible sadness that all these people died at once."
"I feel a deep and real pride in my military service because I am protecting people," Bowder said. "Ceremonies like this transcend politics, religion and race. It's about remembering and honoring human beings."
Lincoln is currently undergoing a refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.