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'Something that brought us together': Navy Chaplain talks about Mayport 9/11 ceremony

Naval Station Mayport will hold a 9/11 ceremony starting with a prayer from the chaplain and ending with four blasts from the ships on base.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — It’s been 19 years since the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. We remember and honor the thousands of people who were senselessly killed by Al Queda terrorists. 

One of the ways to honor those lives on the First Coast is through a ceremony at Naval Station Mayport. It will begin with a prayer from Chaplain Darron Shaddix and end with four blasts from all ships on base at the times of each attack on Sept. 11.  

The blasts will happen at 8:46, 9:03, 9:37, and 10:03 a.m.

One of the blasts will come from the USS New York. The ship has a close connection with the attack: its bow is built with 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center.

The name of the ship speaks for itself: USS New York. The ship’s motto is "Never Forget." The Navy website says "a steel plate recovered from the World Trade Center rubble is displayed above one of the most-used passageways as a reminder."

The Navy reports that the chaplain on board chooses the name of someone who died in the attacks to honor in their daily prayer. 

Chaplain Darron Shaddix, who is leading the opening prayer for the 9/11 ceremony, says there are some sailors on base who weren’t alive on that day.

“My hope is that they can see the power and the impact is has on the people that do remember," Shaddix said. "Even though they didn’t get to experience because of the time they were born, it’s something they get to take to heart and it can have an impact on them as well.”

Shaddix says there are sailors serving today because of 9/11. Nearly every American alive on that day can recall where they were when they saw the news. Ahead of the opening prayer, Shaddix talked with First Coast News about what the day means to Americans.

"It's something that brought us together," Shaddix said. "With situations today like pandemic and disorder and a lot of chaos in our country, we can look back 19 years ago and say this is something that we could all come together around. It was something meant to cause fear and division and instead it brought courage, unity and resolve to us as Americans."

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