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    Sailor comes home to New York on Veterans Day -- to honor his father.

    USS Arlington honors Firehouses and Firemen in Veterans Week

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Roger Duncan | QUEENS, New York -- (Nov 10, 2022) -- U.S. Navy Lt j.g. Christopher Gardner, right,...... read more read more

    QUEENS, New York -- Nov 10, 2022 -- U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Christopher Gardner remembers playing in the upstairs of the firehouse before his father died on Sept 11, 2001. Today he came back to the firehouse and helped honor his father's legacy as part of the USS Arlington crew - here in New York for Veterans Week.

    Although Gardner is a local New Yorker, this trip home has a different meaning and impact. As a part of the USS Arlington's visit to the city to honor Veterans Day, Gardner and the Senior Enlisted from the ship visited his father's firehouse in Queens on Wednesday.

    “The house hasn't changed much from what I remember,” said Gardner.

    Chris Gardner's family came out as well. His aunt, Michelle Gardner, said, "It's very emotional to be here today. Chris enlisted to give back."

    Gardner's father, Thomas A. Gardner, was killed along with 18 other firemen from the Queens firehouse known as Squad 288 / Hazmat 1 on Sept 11, 2001. Afterwards, young Chris visited Pearl Harbor with his family. He met other service members and Veterans and considered to himself if enlisting in the military was a good way to serve. He remembers thinking, “Is this for me?“

    Gardner’s grandfather served in the Navy during WWII as a landing craft driver during D-Day. As he grew up, Gardner came to the conclusion that the place for him to serve was the Navy.

    Gardner and USS Arlington returned from deployment recently, where he worked alongside other NATO forces on exercises and demonstrations. Traveling around the Mediterranean and North Seas gave him time to reflect, make connections with his shipmates and see what matters most.

    Deployment helped Gardner understand the bond his father had with his fellow firefighters - many of whom he has grown up knowing. “This deployment gave me an opportunity to see so many different parts of the world,” said Gardner. “Going from the Baltic states all the way to Greece is an amazing experience that I will not forget. This time gave me an opportunity to get to know my guys.”

    Chris remembers something his father said when he was a child, “I like fire fighting but don't like fires.” Gardner now has a different understanding of this quote along with the importance of his role as a Sailor.

    During the Veterans week festivities, Gardner plans to see his family and friends. “I am excited to be home. My family is from here and I am looking forward to quality time with them as well as showing my shipmates around the city. I'm also looking forward to doing some activities like the Hockey and football games this weekend.”

    Sailors and Marines from USS Arlington, as well as personnel from US Coast Guard Cutter Lawson, will participate in a variety of events in and around the city to honor the service and sacrifice of the nation’s veterans. Events include the annual NYC Veterans Day Parade, a wreath laying ceremony, participating in the New York Giants Salute to Service game and volunteering at the NY State Veterans Home in Queens.

    Additionally, Marines from USS Arlington are celebrating the Marine Corps 247th Birthday. Celebrations and observances are being planned on the ship and in the community to commemorate the birthday.



    Date Taken: 11.10.2022
    Date Posted: 11.10.2022 18:27
    Story ID: 433116
    Location: QUEENS, NY, US 
    Hometown: NEW YORK, NY, US
    Hometown: QUEENS, NY, US
    Hometown: TAMPA, FL, US
    Hometown: YARMOUTH, ME, US

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