NEW YORK (NNS) -- USS New York (LPD 21), the fifth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, built with steel salvaged from the World Trade Center, was commissioned here Nov. 7 in a ceremony held in the shadow of the city for which it is named.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former New York senator, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
"This ship carries with it searing memories of September 11," said Clinton. "Lives cut short, families ripped apart, a nation attacked. And in that steel, burned but unbroken, lives the spirit we saw on 9/11 and the days that followed, the bravery of the rescuers, the resolve of the survivors, the compassion of this city, the patriotism of this great country."
Calling USS New York a symbol of freedom similar to the Statue of Liberty, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus explained how this ship will be a reminder of all New York and the nation went through on September 11th.
"Today, we witness the birth of another memorial to liberty. Eight years ago, this city witnessed the worst atrocities committed against our country. The New York will be a visible testimony to our resilience, to the character of this city, to the strength of this country," said Mabus.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead spoke to the ship's future and what it will mean to Americans through the years.
"Wherever she sails in the next 40 years…USS New York will forever conjure the valor, the sacrifice, the heroism and the tenacity of New York," said Roughead.
New York Governor David Paterson called the day "a great day for America, a great day for New York and a great day for everyone who believes in freedom and justice."
USS New York, the sixth Navy ship named for the state, was built at Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans by Northrop Grumman and christened March 1, 2008. The ship arrived in New York Nov. 2 and rendered honors at the World Trade Center site before pulling into Pier 88 on the Hudson River.
Thousands of veterans and invited guests witnessed the ceremony, which was also broadcast live in Times Square and on the Navy.mil website. The commissioning was the culmination of a week-long celebration of the Navy and Marine Corps team and the ship in New York City.
New York is an amphibious transport dock designed to transport Marines and their equipment. It will be used to support the nation's maritime strategy, to include humanitarian assistance and maritime security operations. The ship's homeport will be in Norfolk, Va.
For more news from USS New York (LPD 21), visit www.navy.mil/local/lpd21.