By Mass Communication Specialists 1st Class Gina Danals and Isaiah Sellers, III, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs
NEW YORK (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines dedicated more years of service and increased responsibility during a time-honored ceremony held in downtown Manhattan as a part of Fleet Week New York, May 22.
A once-in-a lifetime opportunity was offered to eligible service members serving at several commands, including Navy Region Mid Atlantic, amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio (LPD 17), and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52).
Fourteen service members swore to defend their country by extending their enlistment contracts and five commissioned officers accepted positions of greater responsibility at the sacred National September 11 Memorial Museum as friends, family and New York citizens looked on.
"This site represents the strength Americans showed pulling each other together, pulling ourselves back up from the ashes," said Adm. Phil Davidson, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. "Today, you renew your service and are recommitting to the nation and the most powerful warfighting team in the world."
The tragedy that took place during 9/11 continues to influence the decisions of current and future service members. Being able to provide continued service to the Armed Forces is a way members of the military are able to give back to a grateful nation.
"It's an emotional place to be able to re-enlist," said Staff Sgt. Bryan Bush. "It's good getting out in the public to show that we are willing to put in another four years for reasons like what happened here during 9/11."
Nearly 3,000 lives were claimed during the terror attacks surrounding 9/11, and a day that local community, and the nation, will remember for year to come.
"I was born and raised in New Jersey and I remember exactly where I was when 9/11 happened," said Lt. j.g. Chantel Lavender, an officer aboard San Antonio. "It really hit home for me because my family and I live so close. Having my son present during my commissioning is an experience I will never forget."
Fleet Week New York, now in its 27th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984.