ABOARD USS RONALD REAGAN (NNS) -- The crew of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) held a memorial ceremony for their ship's namesake on the ship's flight deck in June.
During the memorial, Ronald Reagan's ceremonial guard fired a 21-gun salute and presented the ship's commanding officer with a shadow box holding the U.S. flag flown from the ship's mast June 5. Fifty additional Sailors volunteered for a state flag detail, which became the backdrop for the ceremony.
The ceremony gave the Sailors a chance to pay their respects and mourn the loss of the 40th president of the United States.
"President Ronald Reagan was a hero," said Capt. James Symonds, Ronald Reagan commanding officer, as he began his address to the crew. "He came to office at a time when I used to wonder if the presidency was just too hard...it seemed hard for anybody to get it right, but he made it look easy."
After the crew found out President Reagan had died, they began writing their condolences in a special book on the mess decks to send to Mrs. Reagan and her family.
Mrs. Reagan is the ship's sponsor, and gave the order for the crew to "man the ship and bring her to life" during the ship's commissioning in July 2003.
"When she christened this ship, she gave birth to a new family," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 2nd Class (AW) Cameron Fisher, ceremonial guard member.
Although the ship no longer carries the distinction of being named after a living president, Reagan's vision, character and legacy will live on in the hearts of the Sailors aboard.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76.