Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Greenberg

BREMERTON, Washington – USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) Chiefs Mess hosted a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony in Bremerton’s Evergreen Park, to mark the 15th anniversary of the
terrorist attacks that took place in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Chief (Select) Hospital Corpsman Elizabeth Barraza, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, read a timeline of the events that transpired while Chief (Select) Machinist’s Mate Michael Fogle, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, rang a ceremonial bell for each event and the national ensign was lowered to half-mast.

“The last thing I saw as I was leaving for college in Florida was the twin towers,” said Chief (Select) Machinist’s Mate Doug Herold, the event’s master of ceremonies, from Seaford, New York, who left one week prior to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City. “I was born and raised 20 minutes outside of the city, and to be a part of this event today helps me feel more connected to home.”

The ceremony, like the events of 9-11 affected everyone it touched.

“Every [service member] here today volunteered to join the military, sacrificing some of their own freedoms to defend this country to make sure attacks like those on Sept. 11 never happen again” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Emmanuel Ponferrada, from Lathrop, California.

Ponferrada said he is glad that this memorial site is maintained so well because he cherishes this country’s history.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 239 President Dennis Bringham, an Army veteran, said he takes pride in how well they take care of the memorial site and noted that combat veterans aren’t the only ones who make sacrifices for our country.

“These steel beams stand for the hundreds of firefighters and police officers who signed up to protect the public, but gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Bringham.

Over 1,500 organizations around the country, like park services and VFWs, have steel girders from the World Trade Center that are used as memorials.

The event concluded with closing remarks from Herold, who reiterated the ceremony’s theme of remembrance.

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