> This is an e-mail from a young ensign aboard USS Winston Churchill to
> his parents. (Churchill is an Arleigh Burke class AEGIS guided missile
> destroyer, commissioned March 10, 2001, and is the only active US Navy
> warship named after a foreign national.).
> "Dear Dad, We are still at sea. The remainder of our port visits have
> all been cancelled. We have spent every day since the attacks going back
> and forth within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing
> watches, and trying to make the best of it. We have seen the articles
> the photographs, and they are sickening. Being isolated, I don't think
> appreciate the full scope of what is happening back home, but we are
> definitely feeling the effects.
> About two hours ago, we were hailed by German Navy destroyer, Lutjens,
> requesting permission to pass close by our port side. Strange, since
> in the middle of an empty ocean, but the captain acquiesced and we
> to render them honors from our bridgewing. As they were making their
> approach, our conning officer used binoculars and announced that Lutjens
> flying not the German, but the American flag. As she came alongside us,
> saw the American flag flying half-mast and her entire crew topside
> at silent, rigid attention in their dress uniforms. They had made a sign
> that was displayed on her side that read "We Stand By You." There was
> not a dry eye on the bridge as they stayed alongside us for a few minutes
> and saluted. It was the most powerful thing I have seen in my life.
> The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew, and it has truly
> been the highest point in the days since the attacks. It's amazing to
> think that only half-century ago things were quite different. After
> Lutjens pulled away, the Officer of the Deck, who had been planning to
> out later this year, turned to me and said, "I'm staying Navy." I'll
> you when I know more about when I'll be home, but this is it for now.