WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus honored victims of the Sept. 2013 Washington Navy Yard (WNY) shooting as well as civilian and military first responders during an awards ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard's Leutze Park, June 23.
"Over the past 13 years of war, we've experienced all too often the pain of combat losses, and we have honored those who we have lost and the many who have served our nation overseas," Mabus said at the ceremony. "Today, we honor those who have sacrificed and who have done heroic acts here at home. The memory of those killed that day will always burn bright."
Mabus posthumously awarded Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Medals to seven of the victims of the shooting who worked at Naval Seas Systems Command (NAVSEA), and Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Medals with Valor to the remaining five victims from NAVSEA and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), with family members accepting on behalf of their fallen loved ones.
Mabus praised the work of the NAVSEA and NAVFAC workers, whom he said provide the foundation of the fleet and worldwide operations, and referred to everyone, both uniformed and civilian, as one large family.
"As a family, we grieve, and we continue grieve. We gather here again as a family to recognize the heroism of those we lost and the heroism that confronted evil on that day last fall," he said. "We honor the men and women we lost-those who gave their lives for their country in the long tradition of great Americans."
Also awarded the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Medal with Valor were 16 civilians in attendance from NAVSEA, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington, the U.S. Park Police, and the District of Columbia Metro Police Department who rushed to help others in the midst of the attack. Mabus also awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal to eight Sailors for their actions that day, as well as representatives of 13 regional organizations who helped in the aftermath.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert joined Mabus in praising the awardees, co-workers and family members at the ceremony.
"We're a Navy of Sailors, civilians and families," said Greenert. "We're all shipmates-all of us gathered here today and everyone that works here at the Yard and elsewhere. Last September when tragedy struck, shipmates demonstrated courage."
Those affected by the tragedy have shown determination and resilience in the days and months since then, Greenert added, and called on everyone to keep moving forward while honoring the memory of the 12 victims.
"To properly remember those who fell, we have to reflect on what they worked for, of what we fight for, and find ways to recognize them in our daily lives," Mabus said.
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