Never Forget: CFAY Holds 9/11 Remembrance

Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka
Story by Christina Johnson

Date: 09.10.2019
Posted: 09.10.2019 23:35
News ID: 339434
Never Forget: CFAY Holds 9/11 Remembrance

Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) held a 9/11 remembrance ceremony prior to and following morning colors, Sep. 11.

Nearly 50 chief petty officer selects from CFAY and tenant commands, and more than 100 chief petty officers gathered at the Command Hill’s flagpole to mark the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

“Our presence here this morning, taking time out from our daily mission,” said Capt. Rich Jarrett, CFAY’s commanding officer, “is a clear message to the Yokosuka Navy family that we will never forget.”

Following Jarrett’s remarks, Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Petty Officer Paul Gittens, chief select and New York City native, began his story about September 11 by saying it was just another day until it wasn’t. He was in Chicago but his cousin was in New York City, and they were having a conversation when the World Trade Center was attacked.

“In 102 minutes, 226 years of American history had been forever altered,” Gittens said. “There were sons, daughters, fathers and mothers who will never see their loved ones again.”

He added that the attacks were so impactful on himself and his cousin that they both joined the military.

Shortly after the remarks, “call to colors” was sounded, all participants came to attention, and the national anthems of the United States and Japan played as the both flags were hoisted. The American flag was then brought down to half-mast to honor the fallen and to recognize Patriot Day 2019.

Following colors, the large group formed a procession, accompanied by a Navy Region Japan Fire and Emergency Services Yokosuka fire engine, to the 9/11 memorial located outside of CFAY’s Chief Petty Officers Club.

“Buildings Fall But Freedom Still Stands Tall – We will always remember the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on American soil,” is the inscription on the pentagon-shaped, black granite memorial dedicated by Yokosuka Chief Petty Officers.

Two bells were rang for each of the planes that were used as weapons and for the heroes on the United Airlines flight that crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, never making it to the original target of the U.S. Capitol Building.

A wreath was then placed at the memorial by Fire Chief Richard Henderson and Petty Officer Gittens.

“We remember the 2,996 victims who were killed in attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and four different aircraft – including the heroic passengers on United Airlines Flight 93,” Jarrett added. “The memories of these attacks live on in our fleet, aboard USS New York, USS Arlington and USS Somerset. The presence of these warships on the high seas are a reminder for us and a clear message to our adversaries that we will never forget.”

CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, 71 tenant commands, and more than 27,000 military and civilian personnel and their families.