Aboard the USS Somerset, daily inspiration from Flight 93

By Walter G. Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Any Navy crew has pride in its ship, but there is a special sense of pride and duty among the crew of the USS Somerset. This feeling is even stronger for the Pennsylvanians on board.

Each of the 9/11 ships has this shield, incorporating visual elements of the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and Flight 93. (photo Walter G. Meyer)

Each of the 9/11 ships has this shield, incorporating visual elements of the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and Flight 93. (photo Walter G. Meyer)

The Somerset is the third of the three San Antonio Class LPDs — the acronym stands for Landing Platform/​Dock — named for the September 11 attacks. The USS New York has steel from the World Trade Center, the USS Arlington has pieces of the Pentagon, and to build the USS Somerset, workers melted down a crane that was a landmark near the Flight 93 crash site, where all 40 crew members and passengers died.

But the Somerset has much more than steel to connect the ship to Flight 93 and rural southwestern Pennsylvania. The ship’s commander, Capt. Lennie Reed, said, “Frankly, it’s a little easier to command this ship because of the evidence of Flight 93 and the sacrifice of the passengers. You can’t go into a space pretty much that doesn’t have a ‘93’ or a reminder. Our sacrifice compared to that is pretty minimal.” Capt. Reed is from Gambrills, Md., about a three-hour drive from Somerset, and he feels a bit of a connection there and to the attack on the Pentagon after having spent time there.

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List of foundations set up for Newtown shooting victims

A list of foundations honoring the victims of the Newtown school shootings of 2012 can be found here.

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St. Nicholas Church returning to lower Manhattan

By Terry Mattingly, On Faith

When members of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church celebrate their patron saint’s feast day on Dec. 6th, they may be able to mark the occasion with prayers on newly blessed ground in lower Manhattan.

It depends on work schedules at the construction site for their new sanctuary, which will overlook the National September 11 Memorial. This is a problem Greek Orthodox leaders welcome after a long, complicated legal struggle to rebuild the tiny sanctuary – 80 yards from the World Trade Center’s South Tower – which was the only church destroyed in the 9/11 maelstrom.

“It’s all of this powerful symbolism and its link to that September 11 narrative that lets people grab onto the effort to rebuild this church and see why it matters,” said Steven Christoforou, a youth ministry leader at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

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