Constitution Crew Honors All Impacted by Tragic Events of Sept. 11

Story Number: NNS180912-06Release Date: 9/12/2018 12:58:00 PM
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From USS Constitution Public Affairs

BOSTON (NNS) -- The crew of USS Constitution and members of the public commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to honor and pay respect to the men and women fatefully impacted by the events that day and over the course of the recovery.

To mark the time of the aircraft impact, Constitution Sailors fired one-gun salutes from the ship’s port side saluting battery and played Taps to commemorate the collapse of World Trade Center Towers and the weakened ring of the Pentagon. The ceremony began at 8:46 a.m. with a gun salute marking the impact of American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, and concluded with the playing of Taps at 10:28 a.m. to mark the collapse of the North Tower.

During the ceremony, Constitution Sailors and guest speakers shared their experiences on what they were doing before, during, and after the attacks occurred. Constitution’s 75th Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Nathaniel R. Shick, spoke about his experience as a junior officer witnessing the events of the day.

“I was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island, not too far from here,” said Shick, who was, at the time, an ensign training at Surface Warfare Officers School. “My classmates and I had just finished our first class of the day. We were enjoying a cup of coffee when we heard on the news that there had been an attack. We all gathered around the TV and watched the events play out for the next 3 hours, essentially stunned into silence by the horrific actions we saw. Despite the tragedy, we rallied around the courage and bravery we saw in the men and women, the firefighters, the police department, and the average citizens not only in New York City, but also in Washington and in the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.”

Yeoman 1st Class Patrick Parker, a Sailor assigned to USS Constitution, remembered the day starting off like a regular school day and then descending from there.

 “I was in the eighth grade and my focus was on starting the school year academically inclined,” said Parker. “I woke up the next morning well rested and ready to start my day. I can’t recall where I was or what I was doing in my class prior to the attacks, but I do remember that in every class room there was a TV and all of the TVs suddenly popped on, which was very out of character. Describing to you what I saw, it didn’t appear to be real. Seeing a tower in New York smoking, my immediate thought was that there was a fire. I had no idea that there had been a terrorist attack and a plane had flown into that building.”

The final speaker of the ceremony, Command Master Chief Craig Cole, command master chief of the Navy’s Center for Service Support, had one final request and wish for all those in attendance.

“Never forget all those who perished around the country on that day,” said Cole. “May God bless our firefighters, EMTs, police officers, our fallen and our missing veterans. May God bless you all, and may God bless this great nation.”

The ceremony concluded with Sailors assigned to Constitution reading off names of those killed during the attacks and striking a bell in their name to make sure they are never forgotten.

Constitution, America’s Ship of State, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797-1855. The world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, Constitution embodies 220 years of maritime heritage and unwavering service to her country. Now a featured destination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of active-duty U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval sea power to more than 500,000 visitors each year. Constitution is berthed at pier one in Charlestown Navy Yard.

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