FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – South Florida welcomes hundreds of sailors and marines this week as they land at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale for the 24th annual Broward Navy Days Fleet Week.
An “All Hands on Deck” welcome party took place Monday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
“The welcoming of the local community has just been fantastic so far,” said Captain Chrisopher Brunett, the commanding officer of the USS New York.
The USS New York the centerpiece of the event, one of the navy’s newest ships, forged from the steel of the World Trade Center twin towers.
“Its a floating memorial, you have 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel forged right into its bow, the DNA of 9/11 victims right into the spirit of the ship,” said Captain Brunett.
The USS New York docked at Port Everglades Monday morning, along with the Miami-based Webber. The Dependable, stationed in Cape May, N.J., is scheduled to dock at the port on May 2nd.
There are about 360 sailors and about 100 marines from the USS New York who will enjoy liberty ashore at beaches, bars, restaurants and shopping malls.
They’ll also take part in local receptions and parties, and participate in various community service projects– including volunteering at local school and hospitals, participating in a blood drive and 5k run.
The 684-foot-long New York, based in Mayport, is an amphibious transport ship, capable of delivering a force of Marines, along with materiel and weaponry, on enemy beaches. But the vessel’s real distinction is its connection to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Other memorabilia from the attacks can be found throughout the ship, and its motto is “Never Forget.”
About 2,000 people have already registered to tour the ship. All ship tours of the USS New York, USCGC Webber and USCGC Dependable have been filled.
To help members of the military get around, Tri-Rail is allowing all members of the active military to ride for free during Fleet Week, April 28th through May 5th.
Personnel don’t need to be in uniform, just show current, active military identification.