Sept. 11, 2013
Vol. 2 Issue 99
9/11A Sailor Remembers Story by MC3 (SW) Nathan McDonald
welve years and two wars have elapsed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and still that day casts a long shadow over the United States. The attacks left a deep scar for many Americans. As they watched the twin towers fall, their own sense of security crumbled with them. Like an earlier generation’s recollections of Pres. John F. Kennedy’s assassination or the attacks on Pearl Harbor, many can recall where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001. Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Catherine Burgess, of Maplewood, N.J., is one such person. For her, though, the attacks carry a much more personal memory with them. “I was in third grade and a teacher ran in and turned on the T.V.,” said Burgess. “She was trying to tell my teacher what was going on, but she kept crying. We didn’t really realize what was happening when she came in, but as it kept playing over and over again we realized that something bad was happening in New York because the news was saying that it was an attack. It took a few minutes for me to realize that my dad was there. A lot of us just started crying.” When Burgess’ mother picked her and her sister up from school that afternoon she had more unsettling news. “She said that she had gotten a call from my dad,” said Burgess, her voice still tightening with CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
Sailor of the Day
Commanding Officer Capt. Jeff Ruth
Executive Officer Capt. John Cummings
Editor MC2 (SW) Jason Behnke
Command Master Chief CMDCM Teri McIntyre
Public Affairs Officer Lt. Cmdr. Karin Burzynski
Lead Designer MC3 (SW) George J. Penney III
Nimitz News accepts submissions in writing. All submissions are subject to review and screening. â€?Nimitz Newsâ€? is an authorized publication for the members of the military services and their families. Its content does not necessarily reflect the official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy, or the Marine Corps and does not imply endorsement thereby.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Photo by MC2 (SW) Devin Wray
the stress of that day. “He had called her and said, ‘take care of our kids. I love you.’ and then the phone went off. So she was left with that and she was worried about being a single parent. She was worried about where he was.” The Burgess family stayed glued to their television, scouring the news for any report that might tell them anything about their father’s whereabouts. Finally, thankfully, he returned home. “He didn’t come home until really late at night,” said Burgess. “He had on the suit he wore that day, but it was covered with dirt and ash, and he had blood on it. When he came home it was just…there was this quiet moment where we realized everyone was here together. It was really emotional. Everyone just started crying.” The ordeal of that day left a lasting impression on Burgess and her decision to enlist in the military. “It was actually the biggest influence,” she said, her voice quieting with introspection. “I told my dad when I was young that I’m going to take care of him. After he came home he was so traumatized that he would have nightmares about it. I started looking at the military when I was in middle school. It was kind of my personal gift to my dad, and we have that understanding. Every time I talk to him he tells me how proud he is, and he introduces me as his Navy Sailor.” As an aviation ordnanceman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Burgess’ work has directly supported Operation Enduring Freedom. “I stood watch over this ordnance,” said Burgess. “When the executive officer talks about the bombs we dropped it feels like I’m actually doing my job. I could see that we did a good job. I feel like every day my job actually matters. I’m making my mark.” While the anniversaries of the attacks bring up painful memories, they also serve as motivation to press on and a reminder to Burgess of how far she has come since that day. “Anytime I’m actually talking about it, it just opens that up again,” said Burgess. “It’s not the easiest thing, but every year on that day my dad and I have a conversation. We tell each other ‘I love you. I’m always here for you.’ Being away from home and being on deployment has had me thinking back on it. Especially
AOAN Catherine Burgess
when a day has been really rough and I don’t really want to be here, I remember why I’m here and why I have to be here. It comes back and gives me a reason to be here.” Her father’s pride also motivates Burgess to work toward her qualifications. “He’s always very proud and wants to know what I do every day,” she said. “I’m trying to get my EAWS (Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist) qualification so when he comes here he can pin me. It would be a big thing – the man that motivated me to join the Navy pinning me.” The growth Burgess has experienced since the attacks on Sept. 11 is evident to those closest to her. “I just realize that some people take life for granted,” she said. “I got patriotism from this – helping my country and helping my family. This whole Navy experience has made me grow as a person. My mom tells me every day ‘you’ve really matured since high school.’ When I write home I’m not this little kid. She’s seeing that I’m getting my life straight and improving my life every day.” 3
HISTORY Story by MC3 (SW) Phil Ladouceur
or some days, the dates are all you need to hear. You donâ€™t even need to state the year. Dec. 7 needs no introduction or explanation. July 4 might be Independence Day, but no one calls it that. And though it is officially Patriot Day, most people still simply say: 9/11. Twelve years ago today missiles out of the sky struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They hadnâ€™t started the day as missiles. They had started the day as commercial airliners, taking tourists to their vacations and
“For me, it’s like having a piece of home that I can touch,” said Perkins. Damage Control Fireman William Endicott hadn’t known about the artifact, but was impressed by the fact it was on board Nimitz. “It’s an honor, because that’s the reason I’m in the military, to make sure that nothing like that happens again,” said Endicott. Nimitz received the beam a few months after completing an eight-month deployment to the Western Pacific in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Since 2001, Nimitz has deployed six times, totaling 37 months, either in support of OEF or Operation Iraqi Freedom. When you walk by the beam, take a moment to look at it. Think about where it’s been. Touch it and let it bring you closer through time and space, and try to get past the replayed broadcasts and feel the pain, sorrow, and resiliency that the nation felt those first few days in September.
people home to families or to visit old friends. As the years have gone by and the memories have faded, it becomes harder to recall the surprise felt that day. Fortunately for most of us, we lived far away from the actual attacks, and witnessed them only through the broadcasts of television news. Every year we see the footage replayed, and we start remembering the replays and not the actual event. On board Nimitz, we are fortunate to have a piece of history to help us remember, to reach back in time and feel the emotions of the day. Breezy Point, N.Y., is a town of more than 4000 residents that lost 29 of them Sept. 11, 2001. Given steel beams from the World Trade Center, they constructed a memorial to those residents that died. Three beams were left over. One went to a museum at Fort Benning, Ga., and another was sent to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, where it will remain as long as Americans are deployed to Afghanistan. When military forces come home, so will the beam, to Fort Bragg, N.C. The third one is on board Nimitz, next to Deckhouse Three. Brian Quinn was one of the leaders of the group Sons and Daughters of America, which organized the donation of the beams. His son, Ship’s Serviceman 3rd Class Brian Quinn Jr., was a former crewmember of Nimitz. Damage Controlman 3rd Class Coy Perkins is from New York, and the World Trade Center was part of the landscape of his childhood. He appreciates having the beam on board.
By MC3 (SW) Phil Ladouceur
BM3 Brandon Oleson, left, supervises during a replenishment-atsea.
By MCSN Siobhana McEwen
Chief selectees run in formation during a 5K on the flight deck.
SN Robert Nunez signals to the Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) during a replenishment-at-sea.
EM3 Patricia Martinez sings and dances during a karaoke event.
By MCSN Derek A. Harkins
By MCSN Siobhana McEwen
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Published on Oct 6, 2013