Stennis Families React to World Trade Center Flag

by | Dec 9, 2001 | POLITICS

On Thanksgiving, the Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis learned the story of how Sgt. Karl Hagstrom recovered the flag from the rubble of the World Trade Center and had shipped it to them to carry into battle. Karl has since learned the flag was received safely onboard and will be unfurled with ceremony when […]

On Thanksgiving, the Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis learned the story of how Sgt. Karl Hagstrom recovered the flag from the rubble of the World Trade Center and had shipped it to them to carry into battle. Karl has since learned the flag was received safely onboard and will be unfurled with ceremony when the ship launches its first combat missions. The story was then e-mailed home to thousands of families and loved ones of the Sailors and Marines onboard. Karl and I have received dozens of replies. Here is a sampling:

– A mother wrote: “The USS John C. Stennis CVN-74 is very important to me, for the reason that it also carries my precious baby girl, yup my daughter is aboard Stennis. But not only do I have her on Stennis, I also have my son who is also there defending our country. He is aboard the USS Peleliu LHA-5. So you see how special your article is and how much it means to me. THANK YOU. My kids are the 4th generation of the USN. They are also my only two children. I just pray that they come home safely to me, and all the military returns home safely. And that we get and snuff out this terrible thing of Terrorist. . .PROUD NAVY MOM”

– A wife wrote: “My husband is an officer aboard the John C. Stennis and I know will be proud to sail under this particular ensign of the United States of America. I appreciated your article very much, particularly the references to the patriotism and devotion of the U.S. Military to our country. Though he has never made me feel second best, I know that for my husband, his duty to his county comes first. This is only one of the things that I love about the man. I am proud to be a Navy wife, and especially proud to be the wife of my Naval Officer.”

– A father wrote: “My son serves on the USS John Stennis and even though he is not an American, (he is British going for his citizenship of the United States of America), felt the same as every American when the tragedy struck this country. As a parent of a wonderful son, my heart fills with such love and pride whenever anyone asks about him and his ship. The fact that this flag will fly with such pride aboard this great aircraft carrier at a time of war, will mean so much to each and every one of them and they will be honored every time they raise and lower it. As a parent I thank you for giving them something of great importance and historic to take with them on this difficult task ahead of them.”

– Stennis’ Executive Officer wrote: “Mike, thank you very much for the words and effort from you and Karl. I will have this [article] out to the crew today. We appreciate your wishes and blessings and are proud to do our part in defense of our great country and way of life. Hope your Thanksgiving was as warm and meaningful as ours out here.”

– A wife wrote: “I read your article in the newspaper. I must honestly tell you that I was in tears well before I was finished reading. . . . My husband is a very proud Sailor onboard the John C. Stennis. I don’t think I have the words to tell how proud I am of my husband and the other military personnel who are defending the beautiful stars and stripes and everything it stands for. I sent copies of your article to share with friends and family across the United States. I know that it will touch them the way it did me. . . . Thank you for such a wonderful and heart warming article. It may have brought a tear to my eye, but it also brought a smile to my face. And I really needed that! GO NAVY!”

– A fiancee wrote: “I am fortunate enough to be the fiancee of one of the Sailors in the Navigation Department who will be raising the flag over my favorite naval carrier tomorrow morning. When he told me that the ship received the flag, he proudly stated that he was holding apiece of history in his hands. I gladly look forward to him telling this story to our children. Like many Americans, I did not look favorably upon the military prior to the events on Sept. 11. Now I realize the sacrifices that my fiancee is making to uphold my freedom, along with that of my fellow Americans. I’m truly proud to say that I will be marrying a Sailor in the United States Navy.”

– A Sailor wrote: “I am a Signalman Third Class Petty Officer stationed aboard the USS John C. Stennis. I was tasked with the honors of being the one to handle “closing it up” as the term is for hauling a flag in the Navy, and watching our symbol of freedom fly high over the sea en route to bringing the threat of terrorism to a close. When I first opened the flag with my Chief I couldn’t help stand awestruck at the opportunity to be holding such a piece of history. For me to be assigned to carrying out Sgt. Hagstrom’s request brings me a great deal of pride and patriotism and I am more than willing to do this, not just for him, but for the people of New York and the United States as well. I look at it as a chance to let the people of our Great Nation know that Justice will be served and our Freedom will be defended as the men and women of John C. Stennis Battle Group take action against all involved and responsible for the attacks on our homeland.”

God bless our Commander in Chief and our Armed Forces. God bless their families and loved ones. May they draw strength and comfort from the support of a grateful Nation. God bless our flag. And God bless America.

Mike Giorgino is a retired Navy Commander and a Gulf War veteran. He was the Republican candidate for the State Senate, 40th District in 2002. He graduated from the University of San Diego in 2000 (where he studied Constitutional Law under Professor Siegan). He practices law in San Diego and may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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