USS PEARL HARBOR, At sea - Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) reflected on the meaning of the ship's namesake during a ceremony Dec. 7, exactly 70 years after the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
In a ceremony held on the ship's flight deck, Pearl Harbor crew members and embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) remembered the Americans who lost their lives on Dec. 7, 1941.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Homer Denius, Pearl Harbor's commanding officer, spoke to hundreds of Sailors and Marines in attendance.
"We honor those who fought, survived and died on that fateful day," said Denius. "Today, we reflect on what those great Americans sacrificed for our country and what it means to be stationed aboard this ship."
Denius spoke of the many contributions of the World War II generation and how Sailors and Marines of today can honor those who served.
"I challenge you--Sailors and Marines of the Pearl Harbor--to reflect on the heritage that is passed to you symbolized in the name of this ship, reflect on how you conduct your daily duties, and reflect on how you honor those who have given us so much," said Denius.
Crew members who attend the event said the ceremony was important in helping to remember the ship's namesake.
"It's extremely important for us to remember them," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Keith Doran. "It gives us a sense of pride in our ship and what we're out here for; it reminds us what we're doing everyday, and why we do the things we do and why we support our country and fight for our Navy combat team."
Other Sailors said they had similar feelings.
"To me it means that I'm representing strong people who came before us," said Electrician's Mate 1st Class Christopher Rosson. "Meeting the Pearl Harbor survivors was a great experience; they're living heroes."
"It's definitely important to honor our veterans," added Rosson. "So that they know they haven't been forgotten, and it's a remembrance for us to know where the Navy was and where we're at now and do a comparison."
Yeoman 1st Class Jason McClinton was one of the two members of the flag detail for the ceremony, who raised and lowered the ensign for the national anthem and the playing of Taps at the end of the ceremony.
"For me, being a Sailor assigned to USS Pearl Harbor, it's more than just me individually showing up to work on board every day," said McClinton. "It gives me a sense of purpose knowing that I am a Sailor assigned on board the ship named after the men and women who sacrificed their lives at Pearl Harbor."
McClinton also said he is proud to carry on the legacy of the Pearl Harbor victims.
"If the Sailors back then were alive now, and they could see us, I'm pretty sure they'd be proud of the things that we're doing everyday, going out and defending the country in their honor," said McClinton.
Pearl Harbor deployed Nov. 14 in support of the Navy's Maritime Strategy, along with the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), which make up the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).
The mission of the Makin Island ARG is to help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and provide humanitarian/disaster response as well as supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.