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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 March 2008, 01:20 GMT
US names '9/11 steel' warship
USS New York christened at Northrop Grumman shipyard in Avondale
The USS New York will be commissioned next year
Thousands of people have watched the naming in Louisiana of a US warship built partly from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center.

The twin towers in New York were destroyed in the hijacked planes attack of 11 September 2001.

Friends and families of 9/11 victims were among those at the ceremony for the new amphibious assault ship, the USS New York, in the base of Avondale.

The bow contains 7.5 tonnes of steel taken from Ground Zero.

It also bore a shield with two bars to symbolise the towers and a banner with the slogan Never Forget.

Hurricane Katrina

The wife of Deputy Defence Secretary Gordon England broke the champagne with the traditional salute of "May God bless this ship and all who sail on her".

Mr England said the name of the ship would be a source of strength and inspiration to the crew.

In the US Navy, state names are normally reserved for submarines, but former New York Governor George Pataki had asked for the ship to carry the name.

During construction the ship also had to survive the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The USS New York will be commissioned into service next year.

Lee Ielpi, president of the September 11th Families' Association, told Associated Press: "We're sending a message that we're standing strong. This ship, as it cuts through the water, is going to send a ripple. That ripple will say, 'We cherish our freedom'."

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