Monday, September 13, 2010

Nimitz Remembers 9/11, Dedicates World Trade Center Donation

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Scott A. McCall, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) held a remembrance ceremony to honor the men and women who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"Nine years ago this morning violence was visited upon our nation. It took us by surprise and it shook us to our core," said Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, Commander Nimitz Carrier Strike Group 11. "We all remember, each in our own way, what we were doing, where we were and what our reaction was."

The memorial featured a bell ceremony were Nimitz' Chief Petty Officer selects read the events of that day followed by a bell toll.

"Surprise, shock, despair, our lives changed…but not for long. From that moment we pulled together as a nation, as a country, swiftly responding on scene locally at first then globally forward," said Girrier. "A call to act so quick essentially part of our American heritage not defeated, not downcast, not terrorized and that fight continues today."

Since 2001, Nimitz has deployed five times, totaling 32 months, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Nimitz completed an eight month Western Pacific deployment March 26 in support of OEF.

While Nimitz supported OEF during that 2009-2010 Western Pacific deployment, the residents of Breezy Point, N.Y., who lost 29 people during the terrorist attacks, donated three I-beams from the World Trade Center to the military through an organization called the Sons and Daughters of America.

One beam was donated to an infantry museum at Fort Benning, Ga., another is at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan and the third was donated to the crew aboard Nimitz. Mr. Brian Quinn, the father of former Nimitz crew member Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Brian Quinn Jr., and a leader of the Sons and Daughters of America, was instrumental in donating the beam to Nimitz. All the remaining beams form a monument in Breezy Point that faces toward Manhattan in the city of New York.

Nimitz Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Monger presented the beam to the crew during the ceremony.

"Today, we gather around a symbol of sacrifice given with gratitude in appreciation for your steadfast devotion to duty," said Monger. "I'm especially proud of all I have seen in the lives of you, our Nimitz-barbwire team. With unswerving devotion, you have met every challenge and prevailed.

"I dedicate this symbol of sacrifice with appreciation to the steadfast devotion to duty of all United States service members, active and reserve, in the battle against terrorism," said Monger. "On behalf of the men and women of the USS Nimitz, I accept this gift with the utmost pride and honor.

"And [I] thank the town of Breezy Point for your unwavering support of our mission. Your gift has found a home aboard USS Nimitz," said Monger. "It will be displayed with pride, a symbol of sacrifice and perseverance in the fight for freedom from tyranny. May we never forget the dangers of the world we live in and always remember the sacrifice of our comrades."

After the ceremony, Culinary Specialist Seaman Garrett Davis appreciated the donation of the I-beam by the residents of Breezy Point.

"I think them donating [the I-beam] to the military, to the ship is unbelievable," said Davis.

Girrier believes that leaning forward and continuing the fight brings hope and faith to the world by defending democracy and basic human rights.

"We don't blink. We stand the line," said Girrier. "We take the fight forward and we exercise it continuously, while deployed, at our homeport exercising and training at this very moment perfecting our blue water operations while we maintain our systems and equipment keeping our ships and aircraft battle ready."

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