ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- At a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in the ship’s forecastle, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Sailors spent time reflecting on the lives lost to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
8:45 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001: The first hijacked commercial aircraft hit the World Trade Center’s north tower, causing widespread casualties and catastrophic damage to the integrity of the building.
“I remember turning on the television and seeing the first building already ablaze,” said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Robert Stumm, Harry S. Truman’s air department leading chief petty officer. “At first, the sight did not register in my brain; it was surreal… It was one of the most stirring and decisive moments of my life. I knew then, I would be in the Navy for as long as they would let me stay.”
A second aircraft would later hit the south tower, forever changing an iconic skyline. This claimed the lives of 2,996 innocent Americans and first responders. The impact of these brazen attacks was felt around the U.S., especially New York.
“It forever changed the way Americans [live] and unfortunately let us know that there are enemies that are willing to target the innocent to promote hate and violence at any cost,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class Christine Doleman, a Brooklyn, New York native and guest speaker at the 9/11 remembrance ceremony. “My father was a New York Police Department officer at the time, and he lost his canine and partner that day.”
The U.S., a country that stood mostly untouched by foreign terrorism for years, had to come to a resolution.
“Sept. 11, 2001 changed our world and country forever,” said Stumm. “It showed vulnerability at the heart of our Nation and created a resolve that will strengthen us forever. Our nation, in the storm of those events, joined together as one.”
The Nation responded quickly, deploying military detachments to the heart of our adversaries.
“[The attacks] reminded us of the importance of keeping our guard up and always protecting the homeland,” said Chief Warrant Officer Clarence Hall, Harry S. Truman’s communications officer. “Never forget the pain felt throughout the country. Respect the innocent lives lost, the brave first responders and countless lives lost fighting the war on terrorism.”
The attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 93 led America to rebuild and recover.
“Amidst the devastation of the attacks on 9/11, America became a nation of patriots,” added Stumm.
More than 300 Sailors joined 58 1st class petty officers, who have been selected for promotion to chief, during Harry S. Truman’s ceremony. Like Doleman, the ceremony gave Sailors a chance to speak about how these events forever changed the lives of friends and family.
“To tell the story of my father to Team Truman is a great honor,” said Doleman. “It allows for my fellow chief selectees and shipmates to connect to the realism of the 9/11 events. Time has flown by, but the [wounds] have yet to heal. It takes the day of the 9/11 remembrance to remind Americans to take care of one another because we all bleed red, white and blue.”
Harry S. Truman is conducting sustainment operations in the Western Atlantic.