Across the U.S. Navy, ships and installations are commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. But several Navy ships have special connections to that tragic day.
Three years after the 9/11 attacks, the Navy announced it would commission three ships to honor victims and first responders.
One of the ships was the amphibious transport dock Arlington, which honors those who died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, as well as the large numbers of service members, firefighters, and emergency and law enforcement personnel who responded in its aftermath.
The amphibious transport dock Somerset pays tribute to the passengers and crew aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers tried to regain control of the aircraft to prevent its use as a weapon against another Washington, D.C., target. The bow of the amphibious transport dock New York, which honors those who died in, and responded to, the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, includes steel recovered from the Twin Towers.
The USS Arlington features a small museum — the 9/11 Tribute Room — in the ship’s hull. The room honors the 184 victims and the thousands of emergency, fire and rescue personnel of Arlington County and localities in the National Capital Region who provided critical emergency assistance after the attack.
Several historical items from that day and afterward are on display, along with quotes and a series of photos and tributes.
“We are not a memorial, we are a warship. But we carry the spirit of those 184 people that died that day. We know why we got our name.” said Cmdr. Darren Nelson, the Arlington’s first skipper.