She rose from the World Trade Center’s ashes… and now the USS New York returns to the site that gave her seven tons of steel
- USS New York sailed down Hudson River with 170 members of 9/11 Families Association to New York Harbor
- The ship – commissioned in 2009 and lined by pictures of 9/11 – sailed from her home port in Norfolk, Virginia
She rose out of the ashes of 9/11 – and now it’s time to go back to her birthplace.
The USS New York, which holds more than seven tons of steel from the World Trade Center in its hull, has returned to the site ahead of this weekend’s 10th anniversary of the terror attacks.
The ship sailed down the Hudson River on Thursday and her passengers included 170 members of the 9/11 Families Association, which includes first responders and families of victims.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced on Tuesday that she would sail from her home port in Norfolk, Virginia, to New York Harbor.
The ship was only commissioned into service under two years ago in November 2009 and it was built in part with iron salvaged from the wreckage of the twin towers, reported the New York Times.
‘She helps protect the freedoms that make this the world’s most diverse and tolerant city,’ Mayor Bloomberg said. ‘We are honoured to welcome the men and women of the USS New York back to our city.’
He added that the ship’s return was a poignant moment and a symbol of the personal connection between the state and its armed forces.
Pride: The USS New York is seen in the Hudson River upon its arrival in New York, with an NYPD helicopter overhead and the Statue of Liberty in the background
Escorted in: Portions of the hull of the USS New York were made out of iron salvaged from the wreckage of Ground Zero. Its passengers included 170 members of the 9/11 Families Association, which includes families of victims and first responders
‘Every member of the crew has a tremendous sense of mission and appreciation of the unique role their ship plays for the citizens of New York,’ Secretary Mabus said.
‘She is an emblem of the strength and renewed spirit of a city that was damaged but never defeated.’
One of the crew members has previously described rushing from a construction site to help out rescue efforts on September 11 in 2001.
Another said he actually decided to enlist while looking at the rubble from the disaster, reported the New York Times. ‘While on the pile, I looked and said: “Never again in my backyard”.’
Coming back: The USS New York is seen docked on a pier adjacent to West 47th Street in the Hudson River on Thursday
The ship has a display case with a helmet donated by the city’s fire department and there are also photos of 9/11 lining her, a Navy spokesman said.
The vessel’s crest has a picture of a rising phoenix in front of the World Trade Centre – and says: ‘Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget.’
‘I don’t think there’s a family in New York that hasn’t been touched,’ Bonnie Beran, who was watching the ship from the shore on Thursday, told WCBS 880. ‘To some degree we’re all survivors.’
It was built with 24,000 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.
It is the fifth in a new class of warship – designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.
Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite , LA to cast the ship’s bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept 9, 2003, ‘those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence,’ recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there.. ‘It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.
Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the ‘hair on my neck stood up.’ ‘It had a big meaning to it for all of us,’ he said. ‘They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We’re going to be back.’