By Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A sea of people filed into the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on Saturday to observe the commissioning of the USS Somerset, a Navy ship named in honor of passengers of Flight 93 who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“Their plane went down in Somerset County,” said U.S. Senator Pat Toomey. “It’s part of Pennsylvania’s history, and so it’s very meaningful to me that the ship would be commissioned here.”
The USS Somerset is the third and final ship made in honor of the 9-11 attacks. Toomey said that lumber from Somerset County was used for flooring and furniture aboard the ship.
“Our heart goes out to the families who’ve had to bear the greatest share of this terrible burden for the loss of their families,” he said.
Admiral Jonathan Greenert said it’s an amphibious, state of the art vessel capable of serving many roles.
“(It can) respond to disasters, (it) can respond to counter terrorism, counter piracy,” he said, “maritime security that is just keeping the seas calm and keeping freedom of navigation open.”
Marine Corps General James Amos said the massive ship is just a hunk of metal without the men and women who now call it home.
“You see it come to life, and there’s a crew of both Navy and Marines aboard that ship,” Amos said. “And they’re going to find themselves in harm’s way sometime in the near term, and they’ll be doing the bidding of the United States of America. They’re going to make us proud.”
If you want to get a good look at the Somerset, it will be docked at Penn’s Landing until Tuesday.