PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - When terrorists attacked our country on September 11, 2001, Americans pledged never to forget the people who lost their lives or the emergency workers who rushed to aid the injured. On Saturday, America continued to made good on that promise with the christening of the Arlington at the Northrop Grumman in Pascagoula.
Devora Pontell snapped a photo of the Arlington, the ship that will one day sail in the memory of her late husband Navy Lt. Darren Pontell. He was working at Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.
"It's a wonderful event to remember our friends, my husband, all the rescue workers and everybody that was involved in 9/11," said Pontell. "We just like to have everyone recognized. It's important for us to have a ship named the Arlington."
The Arlington will represent the 184 men and women, civilians and military who lost their lives when terrorists crashed a plane into the Pentagon. At a ceremony in Pascagoula, families of victims and the first responders who rushed to the scene reflected on the horror and the heroism of that day.
Arlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz said, "Military and civilian members of the Pentagon community assisting the injured and in some instances returning to the burning building to find comrades lost in the smoke, fire, and rubble."
Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, christened the ship. Next year the Arlington will join other LPD-17 a.k.a. "San Antonio" class ships that sail around the world trying to prevent terrorist attacks.
Officials say these amphibious transport dock ships are out engaging pirates and working off the coast of places like Afghanistan and Libya.
Commander Darren Nelson is the prospective commander of the Arlington.
"San Antonio class can take Navy and Marine Corps team anywhere in the world. That way we can take the fight to the enemy," Nelson said.
"The importance of taking the fight to them is it keeps the enemy away from us. It keeps them on the run, and he's always looking over his shoulder knowing a big ship like this is coming baring after him."
Devora Pontell likes that the Arlington will play a role in trying to thwart another attack on American soil.
Pontell said, "That's the goal is to not let all of our loved ones die in vain. We support the military, the Navy, all the branches in the fight to keep us safe and keep our freedoms."
Officials say the ship is scheduled to be commissioned in the summer of 2012.