9-11 Aftermath: An E-mail from the U.S.S. Winston Churchill

9-11 Aftermath: An E-mail from the U.S.S. Winston Churchill

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“Dear Dad,

We are somewhere out to sea, still with little direction as to what our next priority is. We have spent every day since the attacks going back and forth within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing high-security watches, and trying to make the best of our time. Being isolated as we are, I don’t think we appreciate the full scope of what is happening back home, but we are definitely feeling the effects.

German ship, Lutgenspic, a few days after 9-11 attacks

About two hours ago we got a call from the LUTJENS (D185), a German warship that was moored ahead of us on the pier in England. While in port, the CHURCHILL and the LUTJENS got together for a sports day/cookout on our fantail, and we made some pretty good friends. Now at sea they called over requesting to pass us close up to say good-bye. The Captain told the crew to come topside to wish them farewell. As they were making their approach, our Conning Officer announced through her binoculars that they were flying an American flag.

As they came even closer, we saw that it was flying at half-mast. They had made a sign to display on the side that read, “We Stand By You”. The entire crew of the German ship were manning the rails, saluting, in their dress blues.

More than a few of us fought to retain our composure as they stayed alongside us for a few minutes and we cut our salutes. It was probably the most powerful thing I have seen in my entire life.

The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew. It’s amazing to think that only a half-century ago things were quite different. And to see the unity being demonstrated throughout the world makes us all proud to be out here doing our job.

After the ship pulled away the Officer of the Deck turned to me and said “I’m staying Navy.” I’ll write more as I know when I’ll be home.

Love you guys…”

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