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Washington Nationals unveil memorial to Navy Yard victims

Apr. 4, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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A family member left a bouquet of lowers at the new plaque honoring the victims of the Navy Yard shooting on Opening Day at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on April 4. (Mike Morones/Staff)

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The Washington Nationals unveiled a memorial plaque Friday to the 12 Navy employees killed at the Navy Yard shooting in September.

The Navy’s top officer, who spoke at the ceremony, thanked the Nationals organization for its support.

“Since your arrival [the Navy and the Nationals] have had a growing affinity,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert, “and it’s been very special. Especially on that day. You were the good neighbor who was there to take care of us and our Navy family.”

The day of the tragedy, Sept. 16, the Navy Yard was locked down. A few blocks away, the Nationals opened their facilities to serve as a reunification center for families with loved ones at the Navy Yard.

The team also donated food from concessions stands to Navy Yard employees during the crisis.

The plaque unveiling was attended by friends and families of the 12 people killed in the shooting at Naval Sea Systems Command by the former sailor Aaron Alexis, who used his subcontractor access to access NAVSEA headquarters and commit an act of violence that remains senseless and troubling.

Greenert called the Navy civilians and contractors who died that day patriots for working every day to support, design and maintain the fleet and said he mourned the loss of “shipmates.”

Also attending was Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Nationals principal owner Ted Lerner.

Greenert said after the event that he was touched by the placement of the plaque, just inside the stadium’s main gate.

“I didn’t know where they were going to put it,” he said. “They put it in the primary entrance. You can’t miss this, its right next to the [TV broadcast booth]. This will not be forgotten.”

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