PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, crew and passengers boarded the aircraft of United Airlines Flight 93 expecting to land in San Francisco later that day. Shortly after departing, the plane soared through the skies above the state of Pennsylvania, in which a plan of terror began to unfold.
Up against four terrorists, crewmembers and passengers began to realize their scheduled flight would no longer lead them to their homes or loved ones. With an immeasurable amount of courage, a united vote to fight back was made.
At 10:03 a.m., Flight 93 was brought down to its final resting spot in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, possibly avoiding the White House, the Capitol Building or many nuclear power plants situated on the east coast.
Carrying various artifacts and symbols of Somerset County, amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) was named after the county, forever honoring the collective sacrifice and courage displayed in the face of overwhelming adversity.
This year, marking the 15th anniversary, Sailors and Marines paid tribute to flight 93 during a memorial ceremony held aboard Somerset.
"We are here to remember and honor the fallen," said Capt. Darren Glaser, commanding officer of Somerset. "On Somerset, we are one of three ships within the entire U.S. Navy that recognizes the sacrifice on 9/11. We are the only west coast ship and the only ship to honor the heroes of United Airlines Flight 93."
During the ceremony, 41 Sailors individually brought forth flowers as a bell rang symbolizing each passenger and crew member of Flight 93. Among the red flowers brought forth was a white one paired with a red, for a mother and her unborn child.
The flowers were then released to the waters of the Pacific Ocean as Sailors and Marines joined in a moment of silence.
A Somerset plankowner, Electrician's Mate 1st Class Christopher Higgins said participating in the ceremony was important because of the great meaning held on the ship.
"This means a lot because we are carrying down their history and their sacrifice," said Higgins. "We honor and represent that. I have great honor being on this ship and I will fight just like they fought for America."
Cutting through the waters, the keel of Somerset is the same steel taken from the mining machine standing near the crash site. Throughout the ship, mementos of Flight 93 are seen on every deck as well as a dedicated passageway leading to a memorial room. Among the mementos, "Let's Roll" is seen and heard throughout the ship.
"Our motto, 'Let's Roll' is not some random slogan," said Glaser. "It was literally the last words heard, used to muster collective courage in order to fight back. We say 'Let's Roll' on Somerset so we don't forget. No, USS Somerset will never forget."
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