The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.
The USS New York — the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock whose very nose was forged from steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center after the September 11th attacks — cruised into New York for the first time since 2011.
"It's a new opportunity for this crew to build a stronger relationship with its namesake city," Navy spokesman Lt. Eric Durie told amNewYork.
USS New York sails across the city's harbour, with One World Trade Center in the background(U.S. Navy photo)
Commissioned in 2009, the New York kicked off the 31st annual Fleet Week by leading the 11 U.S. Navy and two Canadian vessels down the Hudson and into New York Harbor on Wednesday morning, met with a n 11-gun salute from nearby Fort Hamilton, NBC New York reports.
The New York's bow stem was made from 7-and-a-half tons of steel, with a single steel plate recovered from the WTC site slung above one of the ship's most-used passages. Its motto is simple and powerful: "Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget."
"Every ship in the Navy has a namesake room or a legacy room, but on our ship the whole ship is a legacy to what happened," Command Master Chief Ben Hodges told the Florida Times-Union last year. "You can't help when you walk around the ship to notice all the things meant to remind you of why you serve."
You can see a full list of events and participating ships and units for Fleet Week 2019 here.