Posted by: arbeam | March 8, 2013

USS Monitor Internment

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy will honor Monitor Sailors March 8 with a graveside interment ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony for the remains of two unknown Sailors recovered from the USS Monitor shipwreck. The unknown Sailors were lost along with 14 of their shipmates when Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C. Dec. 31, 1862. All 16 Sailors will be memorialized on a group marker in section 46 of the cemetery, which is between the amphitheater and the USS Maine Mast memorial.

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 8, 2013) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks at a military funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery for two Sailors recovered from the ironclad USS Monitor. Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C., in 1862

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 8, 2013) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks at a military funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery for two Sailors recovered from the ironclad USS Monitor. Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C., in 1862

Mabus spoke on the sacrifice the Sailors made during the Civil War and the importance of honoring the crew who paved the way for the modern Navy. “This ceremony also honors every individual who ever put to sea in defense of our country,” said Mabus. “From the Marblehead men who rowed Washington across the Delaware, to these brave souls, to those who serve today in nuclear-powered carriers and submarines, Sailors have always been the same; they are at heart risk-takers, willing — even eager — to brave the unknown to peer past distant horizons.”

The date for the ceremony was chosen to recognize an historic day in naval history, the day Monitor arrived in Hampton Roads before its famous battle with Confederate iron clad CSS Virginia which took place 151 years ago March 9, 1962. Known asf the Battle of Hampton Roads, it was the first fight between two ironed-armored ships. Although the battle ended in a draw, Monitor fulfilled her orders to protect the Union ship Minnesota.

“This was one of the most important naval battles in history, one of those rare occasions when technology raced ahead of our understanding of how to fully employ it,” said Capt. Henry Hendrix, director of Naval History and Heritage Command. “The battle between USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia will always serve as an anchor point for U.S. naval history.”

The Monitor would only serve until Dec. 31, 1862 when she sank near Cape Hatteras, off the coast of North Carolina. She remained sunken for 112 years until the wreckage was discovered in 1974 and was designated the nation’s first national marine sanctuary. In 2002, during an expedition to recover the ship’s gun turret, the remains of two Sailors were discovered and transported to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).

During Sullivan’s remarks to the more than 200 who attended the chapel service, she read a letter written by Dr. Grenville Weeks, the surgeon aboard the Monitor, which expressed his feelings on losing the sunken ship and his devotion to ensure she is remembered by future generations. “Just as the crew of the Monitor fought tirelessly to keep their ‘old-time knight in armor’ afloat that day, so have many worked tirelessly since her loss to fulfill Dr. Weeks’ commitment to the ship, and her crew and to the 16 souls who were lost that night,” said Sullivan. “Today we take another somber step, laying two of her Sailors to rest in the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery. As we do so, let us all reaffirm our own commitment, to forever remember the work of the Monitor and to ensure her story is told to our children’s children.”

Friday afternoon's solemn burial of the remains of two Monitor sailors who went down with their ship.

Friday afternoon’s solemn burial of the remains of two Monitor sailors who went down with their ship.

Navy News article

Battle of Hampton Roads

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