Naval Air Station Lemoore honored the 2,996 fallen souls from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 with a memorial ceremony on Monday.
Guests were welcomed by master of ceremonies Chief Select Caleb Gilcrease, who asked everyone to rise and remain standing for the parading of the colors, the singing of the national anthem by Chief Select Carlos Hernandez and the invocation given by Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Brian Hamer.
Each of the chief selects presented a timeline of events leading to the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the downing of Flight 93 in Somerset County, Penn.
Each reading was followed by one ring of the memorial bell and the promise: “We Will Never Forget!"
At the conclusion of the readings, heads were bowed for a moment of silence to remember those who had fallen in the attacks.
Captain David C. James, commanding officer of NAS Lemoore, was the guest speaker. He asked everyone in attendance, "Where were you on 9/11?"
He recalled how vividly he remembers the details of that day.
“It’s a memory that is always there, one you don’t want to forget," James said. “It was a day that altered the fabric of our American history."
James described the three Navy warships that were built to memorialize those who perished in the attacks. All three are San Antonio-Class amphibious transport dock ships.
The USS New York was built with more than seven tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center in her bow. She has served in many operations since her commissioning, including Operation Enduring Freedom.
The USS Somerset was named in honor of Flight 93. The USS Arlington honors the first responders and the attack on the Pentagon in Arlington, Vir.
“I knew when the second aircraft hit the tower we were again a nation at war,” James said. “All I could think of was, 'get me in an airplane. I need to be there!'”
The base fire department dipped the flag flying on the engine ladder truck and the rifle team honored the fallen with a 21 gun salute, followed by the playing of taps by Chief Select Mitchell Gallegos.
As the flag was folded, Gilcrease explained the symbolism of each of the twelve folds.
The “Wranglers” of the NAS Lemoore's Search and Rescue Unit performed a flyover as the ceremony came to a close.
"I am a New Yorker, a Sailor and I will never forget," James said.