Canadian Navy

10/18/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/19/2021 13:03

HMCS Harry DeWolf commemorates 20th anniversary of 9/11 at sea

At sea in the Canadian Arctic on September 11, 2021, crew members of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf solemnly assembled on the starboard bridge wing to unfold, raise and then lower a flag to half-mast. The American flag immediately unfurled in the wind.

On that Saturday morning, Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Kyle Luchau of the United States Navy thought he would be the only person commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks while attached to this Canadian ship. The exact opposite was true and, as many Canadians did on that day 20 years ago, the crew of Harry DeWolf supported their American friend.

After raising the Stars and Stripes, the bridge watchkeeper began a day-long narration of events from 9/11 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 Centers, the evacuation of lower Manhattan - the crew paused from their tasks to listen and reflect.

LTJG Luchau has been on board since embarking in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on August 11. His embarkation during Operation Nanook21 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 our two nations.

He was humbled by the response and support he received from his Canadian crew-mates.

"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, too. If I had not had the opportunity to commemorate this event in a Canadian vessel, this is something I wouldn't have experienced. This will be an extremely memorable moment for me, not only from this sail, but over my career."

Sergeant (Sgt) Matthew MacDonald, the ship's Meteorological Technician, opted to end his daily weather update by sharing his memory of 9/11 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," Sgt MacDonald said. "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."

The events of 9/11 have touched the lives of many on board, and the crew of Harry DeWolf is privileged to have commemorated this anniversary alongside our American friend, LTJG Luchau.