USS Cole 20th anniversary: Naval Station Norfolk to honor lives of 17 lost sailors with ceremony Monday

Virginia News

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been 20 years since 17 sailors on the USS Cole were killed in a terror attack. On Monday, a remembrance ceremony will honor them at Naval Station Norfolk.

The event begins at 10:30 a.m. with guest speakers including 17 Gold Star families of sailors killed, the heroes who saved the ship, and current USS Cole members.

There will also be a wreath laying and a commemorative flyover.

It’ll be a smaller crowd than years passed, but surviving family members, heroes, and current Cole members will honor those lost on that fateful day.

The mother of 22-year-old Cherone Gunn, who was killed in the attack on Oct. 12, 2000, remembers when she learned her son was one of the sailors killed.

“It’s difficult, it never goes away. You’re not supposed to outlive your children.”

Mona Gunn says he was on his first deployment, and the pain hasn’t gotten any easier.

“We don’t want people to forget the sacrifice that we’ve made by having the loss of a child serving our country.”

Although the lives of those lost may never be returned, the families have seen a different kind of justice come in the form of a lawsuit. Earlier this year, Sudan agreed to pay a $30 million settlement to the 17 families of the victims.

The agreement was in an effort to get removed from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The ceremony Monday in Norfolk will be available via livestream here.

Guest speakers also include Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command; Adm. Robert J. Natter, retired, commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet/ Fleet Forces Command from 2000-2003; and Cmdr. Edward Pledger, current Cole commanding officer; along with as a Roll Call of Heroes.

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