The USS New York, an amphibious ship made partly with steel recovered from the World Trade Center, was commissioned by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the Intrepid Pier this afternoon, with Blue Angels flying overhead and cannons firing from west side piers. The ceremony opened with a moment of silence for the shooting victims at Fort Hood.
The New York is setting out heavy with symbolism.
Mabus compared the ship to America: “No matter how many times you attack us, we always come back. America always comes back. That’s what this ship represents.”
To Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, representing the Obama administration, it symbolizes New York: “a symbol of our unshakable resolve; this is a city built of steel… But the strongest steel of New York has always been in the spines of its people,” who she described as “strivers and seekers, immigrants from every country, speakers of every language.”
Governor Paterson, who was also present, called it “a step out of the rubble of September 11th and a step into a future that’s hopefully bright,” and the embodiment of the spirits of the victims of 9/11.
The ship’s commanding officer, Commander F. Curtis Jones, a native New Yorker, sees it as a reminder of the devastation in New Orleans: “It serves as reminder each and every day about why we do what we do and it also serves as a link between New Orleans and New York. The steel recovered by New Yorkers was reformed and reconstructed by the shipbuilders who had lost everything in [Hurricane] Katrina and its aftermath.”
Mayor Bloomberg, who set the first watch, and former Mayor Giuliani were also present.
The ship’s motto is Strength forged through sacrifice.