YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Nearly 50 chief petty officer selects and more than 100 chief petty officers gathered Sept. 11 at Commander, Fleet Activites Yokosuka to mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
“Our presence here this morning, taking time out from our daily mission, is a clear message to the Yokosuka Navy family that we will never forget," said Capt. Rich Jarrett, the commanding officer.
Following Jarrett’s remarks, Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Paul Gittens, chief select and New York City native, shared his memory of 9/11. He was in Chicago, on the phone with his cousin in New York City, when the World Trade Center was attacked.
“In 102 minutes, 226 years of American history [were] forever altered,” Gittens said. “There were sons, daughters, fathers and mothers who will never see their loved ones again.”
The attacks had such an impact on him and his cousin that they both joined the military.
Shortly after the remarks, a call to colors was sounded, all participants came to attention, and the national anthems of the United States and Japan played as both flags were hoisted. The American flag was then brought to half-mast.
Following colors, the large group formed a procession, accompanied by a Navy Region Japan Fire and Emergency Services Yokosuka fire engine, to the 9/11 memorial outside of CFAY’s Chief Petty Officers' Club.
“Buildings Fall But Freedom Still Stands Tall – We will always remember the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on American soil,” is the inscription on the pentagon-shaped, black granite memorial dedicated by Yokosuka chief petty officers.
Two bells were rung for each plane used as a weapon and for the heroes on the United Airlines flight who forced the hijackers to crash the plane in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, instead of the U.S. Capitol Building, their original target.
A wreath was then placed at the memorial by Fire Chief Richard Henderson and Gittens.
“We remember the 2,996 victims who were killed in attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and four different aircraft – including the heroic passengers on United Airlines Flight 93,” Jarrett added. “The memories of these attacks live on in our fleet, aboard USS New York, USS Arlington and USS Somerset. The presence of these warships on the high seas are a reminder for us and a clear message to our adversaries that we will never forget.”
CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, 71 tenant commands, and more than 27,000 military and civilian personnel and their families.
For more news from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/cfay/.