VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- More than 1,000 Sailors from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) participated in a ceremonial event to honor the 17 fallen SEALs who were shot down in Wardak Province, Afghanistan Aug. 25 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
TR Sailors lined up in waves to volunteer for the opportunities to participate in the ceremony honoring the Navy heroes.
"I thought it was great that TR showed up to pay respects to the men who paid such a huge price," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Daniel C. Merrick.
The Sailors showed their support with the long-standing tradition of "manning the rails" outside the Convention Center in remembrance of the fallen heroes.
"I was devastated when I heard the news," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman April Cornell, "One fallen member is too many, and more than one is a tragedy."
The ceremony was kept to a private setting allowing only those service members who knew the fallen Sailors to enter.
The Sailors stood alongside the streets for approximately one-and-a-half hours as the family and official party members arrived. One-by-one, bus-by-bus, the family and friends arrived to see Sailors standing at attention, showing the pride and camaraderie displayed in all military branches.
"We wanted to show the families that they not only have support from within their own community, but they also have support from within the Navy," said Merrick.
With the last of the family members arriving and the start of the ceremony, TR Sailors broke from formation and departed the ceremony, proud that they were given the opportunity to pay their tributes to the heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
"TR and crew give our condolences to the families out there, and we are sorry for their loss," said Merrick, "and our prayers go out to the families."
For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.