Waters South of Japan - Sailors aboard the Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), conducted a Patriot Day and POW/MIA observance, September 11.

The observance marks the 16th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack on the U.S., as well as honoring prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.

"Sixteen years ago, several individuals woke up with the evil intent to deprive many people of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said Master Chief Operations Specialist Kenneth Debnam, keynote speaker. "They did that. They also attempted to demoralize, all throughout the world, those whose religions, their beliefs, or ideals were different than their own. They did not do that. They have not, nor will they."

The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem, followed by an honor guard performance of a POW/MIA table citation by chief selectees.

"This ceremony fills me with a lot of pride," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Evangelina Newton, a chief select assigned to Ronald Reagan. "I had just joined the Navy when the Sept. 11 attacks happened. We were just pulling in to Gaeta, Italy, when the twin towers were hit. We were back underway within four hours. We didn't know what was going to happen or what we were doing, but I was ready for whatever we had to do."

The ceremony included a video presentation about the Sept. 11 attacks, the lives lost and affected, and the people who stepped up to assist those in need.

"I don't think we should forget," said Newton. "Many lives and many families were affected by it, but at the end, we were able to prevail and overcome. It's good to let people know that − at the end of the day − it's great to be an American."

Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.