USS New York entering New York harbor

USS New York entering New York harbor

The U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock USS New York, its bow constructed of 7.5 tons of steel forged from the twisted wreckage of the World Trade Center, made its way into New York harbor on Monday, November 2nd, and fired a 21-gun salute as it paused near Ground Zero. Families of those lost in the attacks of September 11, 2001 stood on the north cove and saluted the memorial warship as it made way up the Hudson River before heading south to Pier 88, where an official commissioning of the ship is scheduled for November 7th. Shortly after 9/11, then-New York Governor George Pataki made a request that the Navy build a ship to be used in the War on Terror that would commemorate the people, city, and state of New York. Construction began in 2002 when steel was salvaged from the site of the Twin Towers and melted down to form the bow of the massive warship. The state-of-the-art, 684-foot USS New York can deliver a 700-strong Marine battalion to any counterterrorism operation in the world.  This marks the first time that the Navy has turned the target of an attack into a tool for war. Steel from the WTC towers forms the stem bar of the ship. The somber irony is not lost on the ships’ crew. “I will be thinking about the people who had to die in order to make the ship,” says New York boatswain Manfred Tiemann. “Arriving in New York Harbor will be bittersweet.” “Physically, literally, and figuratively, that steel leads us every day,” said Cmdr. Curtis Jones, a New York state native and captain of the warship, who says that 10% of his crew are native New Yorkers. “That fact is never lost on us.” The USS New York will remain in the harbor for the duration of Fleet Week New York City 2009, before being deployed. The commissioning of the New York will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who represented the New York State in the U.S. Senate until this year. – C.A. Conover