By Shejal Pulivarti, Naval Support Activity Washington Public Affairs
WASHINGTON, DC –Bells have a centuries long tradition of varied use in the navies and merchant fleets of the world.
Naval Support Activity Washington used the Mitscher Bell for one of its more somber duties during the Bells Across America Ceremony held in Leutze Park on the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 22.
This public event brought together the military community and survivors to commemorate the life and service of our deceased service members.
"Through this memorial ceremony, we hope to honor the sacrifices of our fallen brothers and sisters and show NSAW's commitment to surviving families," said Lt. Cmdr. John Liddle, executive officer for NSAW.
This event was held in association with Gold Star Mother's and Family Day, which is observed the last Sunday of September. A day set aside to recognize and honor those that have lost their loved ones while serving in the Armed Forces.
During the ceremony, NSAW's Commanding Officer Capt. Jeff Draeger said a few words, "This morning we remember them, their incalculable sacrifice, and the tremendous sacrifice made by their families who carry on without them--our Gold Star Families."
NSAW joined other Navy installations nationwide in reading names of deceased service members from their respective region. Following each name, a resounding strike of the historic bell permeated the WNY.
A succession of four bells was rung at the conclusion of the name calling to represent any names not called.
"Let's keep the memory of these fallen service members in your hearts, their families in your thoughts and prayers, and their example in mind as we serve our nation in our respective ways," said Draeger.
Gold Star is the Navy's official program for providing long-term support to surviving families of Sailors who pass away while on active duty. Survivors wishing to learn more about Navy Gold Star, or wanting to register with the program, can contact Pam Valliere, Naval District Washington Regional Gold Star Coordinator, at email@example.com or by phoning 202-433-3059.