Operations Specialist 2nd Class Jalen Houseworth places a carnation in a vase during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony aboard USS Somerset (LPD 25). (U.S. Navy/MC2 Heath Zeigler)

SAN DIEGO - The crew of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) paid respects to the heroes of their namesake with a remembrance ceremony aboard the ship, Sept. 11.

The ship was named specifically for Somerset County in Pennsylvania, in honor of the 40 passengers and crew who died on United Airlines Flight 93, hijacked during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The passengers and crew prevented the plane from reaching its intended target, but tragically crashed in Stoneycreek Township in Somerset County.

“For continued generations, people will study the four flights of that fateful morning – the fallen twin towers, the crash at the Pentagon, and the story of Flight 93,” said Master Chief Myla Presco, Somerset’s command master chief. “They will learn that individual choices make a difference, that love and sacrifice can triumph over evil and hate, and that what happened on 9/11 is among the most courageous acts in American history. The Sailors and Marines aboard USS New York, USS Arlington and USS Somerset will carry the fallen heroes’ courage and bravery with them forever.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony was limited to the ship’s crew only. Somerset’s crew honored the sacrifice of the 40 lives on Flight 93 by ringing a bell and placing a flower for each person lost in the crash.

“The 40 souls who perished on the plane left a great deal behind,” said Capt. Dave Kurtz, Somerset’s commanding officer. “They left spouses, children, and grandchildren who miss them dearly. They left successful businesses, promising careers, and a lifetime of dreams they will never have the chance to fulfill. They left something else—a legacy of bravery and selflessness that will always inspire America—and that inspires our crew to act with selfless courage.”

Somerset stands as a memorial for the victims on the flight. The ship’s keel contains steel from a mining machine standing near the crash site. Every deck of the ship contains mementos of Flight 93, including a dedicated passageway leading to the memorial room, which bears the names of the passengers.