A US Navy assault ship built with steel from the fallen World Trade Center and named in honor of the city and state that were home to the twin towers is making its inaugural visit there.
The USS New York was scheduled to sail up the Hudson River Monday. The $1 billion ship was built in Louisiana with about 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel melted down and used in the bow. As part of its journey, the ship is scheduled to stop when it nears ground zero, where first responders, families of Sept. 11 victims and the public have been invited to watch a 21-gun salute. Rosaleen Tallon, whose firefighter brother Sean Tallon died in the attacks, planned to be among them.
"I think it's a really nice tribute," she said, adding that her brother, who also was a Marine, would be proud.
She said she was glad that steel from the fallen towers would be used in a new form.
"It's a transformation of it from something really twisted and ugly," Tallon said. "I'm proud that our military is using that steel."
Lt. Cmdr. Colette Murphy, a Navy spokeswoman, said she was excited for those serving on board to see how the city would welcome them.
"I think it's going to be awe-inspiring," she said. Of the 361 sailors serving aboard the ship, around 13 percent are from New York state, which is higher than would normally be the case, Murphy said. There were many requests from Navy personnel to serve on the ship, which will also be carrying around 250 Marines, she said.
After the ground zero stop, the ship is expected to sail upriver to the George Washington Bridge, where it will turn around and head south to Pier 88, where it will dock. An official commissioning ceremony is scheduled for Saturday.
The New York will remain in the city through Veteran's Day and then head to Norfolk, Va., for about a year of crew training and exercises, Murphy said.
The ship is 684 feet (208 meters) long and can carry as many as 800 Marines. Its flight deck that can handle helicopters and the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
It was scheduled to be built before the terrorist attacks. About a year later, the announcement came that the ship would bear the name New York to honor the city, state, and those who died. It's the latest in a line of Navy ships to bear that name. The others included a Spanish-American War-era cruiser, a battleship that served in World Wars I and II and a nuclear submarine retired from the fleet in 1997.
The ship is technically known as a San Antonio-class amphibious dock vessel. Four vessels in that class are in service, the USS San Antonio, USS New Orleans, USS Mesa Verde and USS Green Bay. Four others are being built. Of those, two also have been named in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.
The USS Arlington was named to honor the attack on the Pentagon. The USS Somerset was named after the county in Pennsylvania where United Airlines flight 93 crashed.