By Jason Spencer Arlington Patch
Supporters hope to raise $500,000 for the ship’s 9/11 tribute room aboard the USS Arlington.
The USS Arlington will be commissioned this weekend at Naval Station Norfolk, but fundraising for this county’s contribution to the ship will continue past that.
Supporters hope to raise $500,000, with the bulk of that money going to a 9/11 tribute room aboard the ship, Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary told Patch recently. O’Leary is on the ship’s commissioning committee.
So far, only about $362,000 has been collected — and that includes a $50,000 donation from Arlington County.
“We’re going to continue fundraising. And anybody and everybody who can contribute money, I hope they do. Because it’s obviously going to a good cause. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, the idea of having a ship named the USS Arlington.”
The Arlington, the third ship to be named for this county, will be formally commissioned on Saturday in Norfolk.
It’s one of three ships to be named in honor of those who died on 9/11 and the first responders who served that day.
Arlington will work with the ship’s commander and the U.S. Navy to identify any items in the county’s possession that can be donated for display in the tribute room.
A candelabra from the last ship to bear this county’s name, for instance, will be dedicated, O’Leary said. A firefighter’s helmet that was worn on 9/11 and a section of concrete from the Pentagon also could be donated.
“We want to have a first-class tribute to those who died and the firefighters and police,” O’Leary said. “We don’t want to cut corners. We want it to be first-class.”
Steel girders from the Pentagon already are embedded in the ship’s keel.
“It really reflects our county. It’s really fantastic that we’re being given this honor,” O’Leary said.