Five years after its keel was laid down the USS Arlington finally sailed into its home port of Norfolk Virginia where it was commissioned into active service in the United States Navy. It was a memorable and moving beginning to what Arlington officials hope is a long relationship.

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US Navy requisitioned three ships that would commemorate the events, pay honor to the Americans who died, and tribute to the efforts of the first responders who were America’s first line of defense on that day.

The USS Arlington is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. This is the third USS Arlington, the previous two having served between WWII and Vietnam. It’s a history that highlights the unique relationship between Arlington County and the military.

Because of that unique relationship, Arlington wanted to give the USS Arlington a homecoming unlike any the Navy had ever seen before: a salute from the emergency officials who responded to the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11.

It was an emotional homecoming for the crew which had spent two years in Mississippi preparing the ship for active duty and the first responders salute only added to the powerful feelings of this day. The homecoming event highlighted the growing relationship between the two Arlingtons: county and ship.

That legacy is going to be preserved in a planned Tribute Room onboard the USS Arlington, which will pay honor to both the victims and the heroes of the attack on the Pentagon. A living legacy of Arlington’s response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the tribute room will be an important ambassador for our county, as it hosts events and dignitaries all around the world.

As the USS Arlington was commissioned into active duty, the men and women who serve on it bore with them the hopes of a nation, and the special hopes of our community that the relationship we’ve started will continue to grow over time.

This video was produced by Arlington TV and lasts 7 minutes.