GAETA, Italy – The crew of USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and embarked U.S. 6th fleet staff gathered for a remembrance ceremony to honor those whose lives were lost during the terrorist attacks, Sept. 11.
The event opened with morning colors and was followed with remarks from Capt. Ted Williams, Mount Whitney’s commanding officer.
“We will always remember that clear morning,” said Williams. “It is a day we all remember where we were, what we were doing and how we felt.”
Williams said 9/11 shaped the way the Navy has fought and trained during the subsequent campaign. He said it is important that Sailors learn from past events and use that knowledge in order to better prepare for the future.
“We must never forget that on this day, the enemy tried to weaken and break our great nation,” said Williams. “Instead, they strengthened our resolve.”
The crowd at the ceremony consisted of servicemembers, civil service mariners and civilians. Many of the Sailors in the audience could remember their reaction to the events of 9/11.
“I was only ten when it happened, but I can still remember the shock and devastation on my parents’ faces and my teachers had the same look on their faces when I got to school,” said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Ryan Lincicome. “Even though I didn’t fully understand what was going on at the time, I could see the impact it was having on everyone around me.”
Before the ceremony concluded, Williams said more than 6,000 servicemembers have died since the attacks.
“It was then we knew we were under attack and it was then our lives changed forever,” said Williams. “We have dedicated our lives to ensure our nation is free and safe from attack.”
Mount Whitney, homeported in Gaeta, Italy, is the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship and operates with a combined crew of U.S. Sailors and MSC civil service mariners. The civil service mariners perform navigation, deck, engineering, laundry and galley service operations while military personnel aboard support communications, weapons systems and security.