The Navy Warship Forged with Steel from the World Trade Center Returns to New York for Veterans Day

(U.S. Navy/Lt. Alexander Cornell du Houx)

The USS New York is coming home for Veterans Day.

The Amphibious Transport Dock ship with a bow stem cast using 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will return to its namesake city to participate in its annual Veterans Day celebrations November 8-12.

The Navy calls this latest USS New York “an instrument of freedom and peace,” and its job is to deliver Marines and their equipment anywhere in the world that might need a little freedom and peace.

Named in memory of the victims of the terror attacks, the vessel's motto is “Strength Forged through Sacrifice, Never Forget.” Inside the ship is a steel plate recovered from the World Trade Center site that rests over one of its main passageways and an FDNY helmet to remember the sacrifices of New York City’s first responders. The ship’s chaplain begins daily prayers by reciting the name of one of the 2,977 victims.

State names are usually given to submarines, but the Navy made an exception for New York at the behest of Gov. George Pataki, who wanted a surface ship with the name to see action in the Global War on Terrorism. With that in mind, the Navy created three sister ships, each named after victims of the attacks and each constructed with steel from the attack site.

(U.S. Navy)

The USS Arlington, named for Arlington County, Virginia, carries steel salvaged from the Pentagon. The USS Somerset is named for Somerset County, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field. Some 22 tons of steel from a dragline excavator near the crash site makes up Somerset’s keel.

New York was commissioned in 2009, Arlington in 2013 and Somerset in 2014.

The USS New York the fifth ship in U.S. Navy history to be named for the state and the first amphibious transport to bear the name.

The previous surface ship named for New York was the lead ship of its class, a battleship that fought in and survived World Wars I and II.

An armored cruiser named New York fought in the Spanish-American War; a wood-hulled frigate with the name fought the French in the Quasi-War with France (but was burned by the British in the War of 1812); and the first-ever New York fought the British in the Revolutionary War on Lake Champlain. (A Los Angeles-class submarine, the USS New York City, was the only vessel to be named specifically for the city. It was decommissioned in 1997.)

USS New York is scheduled to arrive at Pier 88 in Manhattan at about noon Wednesday, November 8. The ship will be open for public visitation on Sunday, November 12, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Its crew will participate in New York City’s Veterans Day Parade as well as other citywide events.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, or on LinkedIn.

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