In this video, Gordon Felt, a Flight 93 family member, discusses what one of the Navy’s three 9/11 tribute ships, USS Somerset (LPD 25), means to him.
USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24), both also amphibious transport dock ships, are named in honor of those victims and first responders of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
In the words of Gordon Felt:
It’s hard to comprehend the long course of events that have brought each of us here today.
For some of us, it’s a matter of deep personal loss experienced on September 11th, 2001. It’s very emotional every year. We get together, many of us in Somerset County every September, the scab is ripped off every year.
Flight 93 came down in a field just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. When it came down and it came over a hill inverted just about just under 600 miles an hour and went straight in.
You know we heard what was going on. We watched the towers come down in disbelief. It was almost surreal to watch it happen and then to hear that afternoon that my brother was involved, it was just a body blow.
I got that initial call from my sister-in-law Ed was on a plane that hadn’t been accounted for and it was a little bit later in the early afternoon that I got a call where she confirmed that he was on Flight 93 and the plane had come down, and at that point she asked if I could tell my mother Ed was gone.
Now, Ed was my big brother.
He was a wonderful father, loved his daughters, loved his wife more than anything. He didn’t deserve this. None of them did. Thousands of innocent people were killed that day. I think we need to remember them collectively as the thousands that were murdered by terrorists on September 11, but we never want to forget that they were individuals.
Lesson from Flight 93 certainly is that that we are strong, willing to stand up in a moment’s notice and fight back against threats and tyranny and I think that reinforced that we still have that in us. It’s in in our American psyche.
We learned early in the process that that the Navy was going to commission these three different ships. We were privileged to be able to meet the crew, get a tour of the ship, and see not only how impressive the ship was just in terms of its capabilities, but also how the story of our loved ones was built into that ship and it stands as a tribute to them.
It’s a real honor to know that the military holds those sites of those that lost their lives in such high esteem and hopefully it will motivate those men and women that will be serving on those ships. Well upon meeting the men and women that had served on the ship, I couldn’t have been more impressed. They’re volunteers and they’ve stepped up to the plate to put their lives on the line. How can they be considered anything other than heroes?
It’s overwhelmingly inspiring because we can’t afford to forget the lessons that we learned on September 11th and the crew is helping to keep those lessons alive.
Certainly, it is a sense of comfort knowing that the Somerset is out there fighting terrorism helping to keep us safe, knowing that there’s such strength and power that is helping to keep our country safe and citizens safe.
It is important I think that the legacy of our loved ones is a group of citizens that were faced with an extraordinarily horrific challenge and they chose to stand up and fight and I think that’s the lesson that needs to resonate that we can’t afford to sit back we need to be proactive we need to stand up for what we believe in.
Well, September 11 is always going to mean loss for me in my family and our country. I’ll also think about our country’s response to September 11th and how we came together in with great strength and responded as a country to not allow the actions of the terrorists more greatly affect the course of our lives and at the end of the day I don’t know what else I could ask for to know that my brother and those 40 other heroes in Flight 93 will be remembered.