Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a ceremony at a memorial site in downtown Newport News.
Nearly 100 Chief Petty Officers (CPOs) and CPO selects gathered at the Victory Arch to honor and remember the memories of loved ones lost in the attacks. The Victory Arch was originally built in 1919 for returning World War I troops as they disembarked from ships and marched through the arch in victory parades. Today it serves as a memorial to the men and women of the armed forces and hosts Newport News’ annual Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies.
The ceremony began with comments from Chief (Select) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Erik Scott. Scott, a civilian at the time, was on an early delivery for his job and saw the first plane hit at 8:46 a.m. Sept. 11.
“I was in the vicinity of where the attacks took place I witnessed most of the event,” said Scott. “Remembering what happened on this day 12 years ago is a bonding experience for the Chief selects. It’s an experience that we get to share with the Chiefs who trained us.”
Other CPO selects also shared their experiences from that tragic day in our nation’s history during an invocation read by Lt. David Duprey, one of Lincoln’s chaplains.
“It wasn’t just an event that brought us together as a nation,” said Scott. “It was an event that as children and young adults we witnessed being burned into the history books of the United States of America.”
Duprey shared his experience of visiting Ground Zero last winter and speaking with firefighters from New York.
“Every firehouse, every ladder and every engine remembers those who died,” said Duprey. “You cannot escape it and it is as if it happened yesterday.”
Scott closed the ceremony by talking about the importance of remembrance and the resilience of Americans.
“I don’t believe that anything can truly break the American spirit,” said Scott. “I raised my right hand to take a call so that one day hopefully I can help people remember what was lost.”
Scott enlisted in the Navy soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Lincoln is currently undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz class to undergo a 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 a vital part of the nation’s defense.
Press Release, September 12, 2013; Image: US Navy