Commemorating Twentieth Anniversary of 9/11 At Sea on Operation Nanook

U.S. Navy sailor Lieutenant Junior Grade Kyle Luchau and an HMCS Harry DeWolf crewmember raise the United States flag in commemoration of 9/11.

U.S. Navy sailor Lieutenant Junior Grade Kyle Luchau and an HMCS Harry DeWolf crewmember raise the United States flag in commemoration of 9/11.

Lt(N) Lisa Tubb
HMCS Harry DeWolf

In the early hours of a Saturday morning at sea in the Canadian Arctic, while deployed on Operation Nanook 21, several crewmembers of HMCS Harry DeWolf solemnly assembled on the starboard bridge wing to raise a flag to half-mast.

It was the Flag of the United States that unfurled in the wind. The day was Sept. 11.

United States Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Kyle Luchau thought he would be the only person commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks while attached to this Canadian warship. However, as many Canadians did on that day 20 years earlier, the crew of Harry DeWolf jumped at the chance to support their American friend.

After raising the American Flag, the Bridge Watchkeeper began a day-long narration of events from Sept 11, 2001, over the ship’s intercom system in real time. Each time the bridge watchkeeper announced the next chronological event – planes taking off, their collisions with the World Trade Centres, the evacuation of lower Manhattan – the crew paused from their task at hand to listen and reflect.

LTJG Kyle Luchau had been on board since embarking in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Aug. 11. His embarkation was conducted with the goal of strengthening his skills as a naval officer through familiarization and experience with Canadian operating systems and procedures, while further fostering the relationship between the two nations. LTJG Luchau was humbled by the response and support he received from his Canadian crewmembers,

“Being on this ship for a month now, I’ve learned so much about just how connected we really are, and how much this event has affected Canadians and other nations. This will be an extremely memorable moment for me, not only from this sail, but over my career.”

Throughout the day, crewmembers also completed 2,996 burpees, one for each person who died that day. Crewmember Sergeant Matthew MacDonald, the ship’s meteorological technician, opted to end his daily weather update by sharing his memory of Sept. 11, 2001, with the crew and invited everyone to reflect on their day 20 years ago.

“I don’t have the greatest memory, but that day is still pretty clear. I was sitting in my Grade 10 biology class in Prince Edward Island, and the lessons stopped. We rolled as many TVs into classrooms as we could and watched the news; everyone processed the events of 9/11 on their own time. A year later, I decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces to do my part in protecting my country, with the events of 9/11 still fresh in my mind.”


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