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Delegates Hope and Brink Present USS Arlington Commissioning Coin to all Members of the General Assembly Print

NR 2013-07

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

 

USS_Arlington_to_Speaker

                 Scott McGeary,  Carla de la Pava, Speaker of the House William Howell, Captain Kevin Reardon, CDR Jim Pebley USN (Ret), Delegates Patrick Hope and Bob Brink

 

Richmond - During the House legislative session today, Delegate Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington) joined by Delegate Robert Brink, presented each of his 139 colleagues in the Virginia legislature with a commemorative coin that celebrates the commissioning of the Navy’s newest ship, the USS ARLINGTON.

The USS ARLINGTON, a San Antonio class amphibious naval ship that will be commissioned in April, is one of three ships named after the locations attacked on 9/11.  The USS NEW YORK CITY, which has already been commissioned, and the USS SOMERSET, which is currently under construction, are the other two 9/11 namesake ships.

In a speech on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates, Hope described how the coin’s design captures the image of the ship.  He explained that the name of the ship honors the first responders who went to aid the Pentagon on 9/11, and pays tribute to the memories of those lost that day.

The entire cost of the coins was underwritten by Washington Gas, which provides natural gas services to all of Arlington including the Pentagon.  “Washington Gas is pleased to have these coins presented, in honor of the USS ARLINGTON and those who lost their lives at the Pentagon.” stated Terry D. McCallister, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Washington Gas.

Delegate Brink introduced Captain Kevin Reardon of the Arlington County Police Department, who designed the coin to commemorate the Commissioning.   Captain Reardon, a member of the USS ARLINGTON Commissioning Committee, was among the hundreds of Arlington first responders who were on duty on 9/11 and risked their lives to aid those injured in the attack on the nation’s military headquarters. Brink acknowledged, “The entire Arlington Community has joined together to make the commissioning of the USS ARLINGTON an honor to those who served and sacrificed in the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon, and to the brave men and women who serve us day in and day out.”

Delegate Hope further described Reardon as a dedicated public servant who represented “all those Virginians who are self-dedicated to never letting our country forget what that day meant to America.” Hope encouraged all of his colleagues to attend the ceremony as an act of solidarity in support of the Navy in Virginia and as a tribute to all Virginians who serve their country.  Additionally, Hope is urging all his fellow Arlingtonians to attend and witness the “birth of their namesake ship.” The ceremony is free and open to the public.

As a demonstration of the bipartisan support for the ship and the Navy, Delegate Hope read several excerpts from a speech given by Arlington civic activist and active Republican Party member, CDR Jim Pebley, USN (Ret.), who serves as the Commissioning Committee’s Vice Chair.  Pebley gave the speech last week at a reception in Arlington honoring sponsors who have donated money to support the commissioning ceremony.

Hope quoted Pebley, saying, “This ship memorializes the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and civilians who were injured or died that day in September 2001.  It offers solace to those who grieve for the loss of family members, friends and comrades in arms.  Everyone in Arlington, in Virginia, and across America lost a piece of their hearts that day.  So it’s fitting that the namesake ship depicted on this coin represents the unique intrinsic connection between our county and the Pentagon and that was forged ever stronger on 9/11.

Delegate Hope said that he was moved by the speech’s closing words, directed to the new ship’s commanding officer, Commander Darren Nelson by Pebley.  Hope quoted, “Commander Nelson, throughout the USS ARLINGTON’s 30, 40, or even 50 years of service, as we hold these coins, please know that the service of the crewmen of this great ship will be in our thoughts every day, their names will linger in our hearts for their safety every hour, and their welfare spoken in our prayers every night. Quoting a Navy tradition, ‘we wish you fair winds, following seas and always may your big jib draw full.’“

Hope concluded by with a request to his House colleagues, “I hope each of you will display this commissioning coin in your office, remembering those who died on 9/11 at the Pentagon and know that the USS ARLINGTON will protect our nation and our way of life for decades to come.”

Patrick A. Hope is a Member of the Virginia General Assembly as the Delegate from the 47th District representing part of Arlington County.  He serves on the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee and House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee.

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Media Contact:

Mary P. Dooley, Legislative Assistant

Delegate Patrick Hope

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

804-698-1047

The USS ARLINGTON Commissioning Committee is a non-partisan, 501(c)3 organization.  For more information about the commissioning, scheduled for April 6, 2013 and to learn how everyone can support the commissioning of this ship, visit the committee’s website at http://ussarlingtonlpd24.org/ Vice Chair Jim Pebley can be reached at 703-251-5603 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For the past year, the USS ARLINGTON Commissioning Committee- comprised of Arlington citizens, community organization representatives, county government representatives, and the Hampton Roads Council of the Navy League- have been raising funds to support the commissioning events and to fund a “Tribute Room” on the ship that will tell the story of the county’s response to the 9-11 attack, honor the memory of those killed or injured, and describe Arlington, home of the Pentagon. With support from private and commercial donors, the group has raised over $300,000 in pursuit of its $500,000 fundraising goal to fund the Tribute Room, as well as support events associated with the commissioning that the Navy is not allowed to fund.

The USS ARLINGTON, which began construction in 2008 with hundreds of pounds of steel recovered from the Pentagon attack site contained in her keel, was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi and has been accepted by the Navy after passing its sea trials last fall.  Arlington’s namesake ship will soon arrive in Norfolk, VA and will be commissioned, or as Hope described, “brought to life” in a ceremony on April 6th at the Norfolk Navy Base.

For more information about the USS ARLINGTON, visit the Navy’s website at http://www.public.navy.mil/surflant/lpd24/Pages/USS%20ARLINGTON%20(LPD%2024).aspx


 



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