Yorktown heroes remembered in memorial service

By Sonya

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- More than 150 veterans will fill the U.S.S. Yorktown this weekend as part of an annual reunion. Events began on Thursday and will continue through Saturday. But Friday, it was all about remembering those who have died.

There was a somber feeling upon the Fighting Lady this morning as fellow veterans, family members and friends gathered to remember those who have passed away.

Flowers and wreaths were tossed into the water, serving as a symbol of love and peace for those now gone.

The harbor became not only a memorial, but a final resting place for one veteran.

His family scattered his ashes into the lapping water.

"It's just a bittersweet thing," said Christopher Larivee, whose father served aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown. "We know he loved this ship. He loved the Navy. You know, when he passed he always wanted to be buried with his ship, so his ashes got spread today out in the bay."

This annual event honors heroes now gone, but also gives those heroes still living a chance to reminisce.

"The reunion for me is to get together with all the guys that I served with and some of the people that I have met," said Fred Caines, who served on the U.S.S. Yorktown from 1961 to 1964. "You get to know these people and they are like brothers really to me and there are some other people that feel the same way."

"It's not just a hunk of steel. It's a living embodiment of what is important to them and you can see it when they come back on board and how much enjoyment they get," said Mac Burdette, Executive Director at Patriots Point.

"It's quite special for a number of reasons," said Terry Fritz, who served on the ship from 1958 to 1962. "One, it's been ten years since I have been here. And two, I met up with one of my ship buddies from over 50 years ago, so it's quite special."

It's a special time that some veterans hope they will continue to be a part of as long they can.

There will be a meet and greet on the U.S.S. Yorktown Saturday from 10 a.m.{} to 2 p.m.

It will be a chance for visitors to spend time with the veterans.