Chilling Anniversary For USS Cole
- U.S. Navy Dedicates Memorial To Sailors
- One-Year Anniversary Of Attack On Ship That Killed 17
- Trial Of 6 Suspects Is On Hold At U.S. Request
NORFOLK, Va., Oct. 12, 2001
AP / CBS
(CBS) A memorial to 17 sailors killed in last year's
attack on the USS Cole was dedicated
Friday at the guided missile destroyer's home port in Virginia,
as the U.S. military waged war on groups believed responsible
for the attack.
Rear Adm. John Foley, commander of Naval surface forces, said
the destroyer, since repaired, would join other ships sent from
Norfolk, Virginia, to wage the U.S.-led war on terrorism and
avenge a bombing believed linked to the Sept. 11 attacks on
New York and Washington.
"May God keep safe the families of our fallen shipmates,
and the crew now in USS Cole, for they have their ship back
afloat, and the 'Determined Warrior' will soon join the fight in
our continuing war on terrorism," he said.
"The terrorist attacks will never be forgotten, nor will
they deter us," Foley said.
A year ago to the day, two men in a small craft laden with about
500 pounds of explosives blew a hole in the side of the Cole as
it was refueling in port in Aden, Yemen, nearly sinking one of
the U.S. Navy's most sophisticated warships.
Six suspects await trial for their alleged roles in the bombing,
although the suspected mastermind -- Saudi-born militant Osama
bin Laden -- remains on a U.S. most-wanted fugitive list.
In memory of sailors lost in the attack, the Navy dedicated a
memorial of 17 evenly spaced rectangular stones arrayed like a
sundial. Japanese black pine trees were planted for each of the
sailors and the 11 children they left behind. The monument also
pays tribute to the 37 sailors injured in the attack and the
crew members who saved the Norfolk-based destroyer from sinking.
During the dedication ceremony, honor guards placed wreaths at
the memorial for each of the fallen shipmates as their names
were read out. A ship's bell was rung once for each sailor.
Relatives of sailors killed in the attack said they could not be
certain about links between the Cole bombing and suicide attacks
on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, but supported
military action in the U.S. war on terrorism.
"Whoever did this ought to pay for it," said Sherman
Saunders, an Army veteran from Danville, Virginia, whose cousin
died on the Cole. "Justice needs to reign here. Justice
needs to prevail here. We need to make sure that these types of
acts never happen again."
The hunt for the mastermind has found new urgency as the United
States cranks up its war on terrorism.
Six suspects in the attack on the USS Cole in Aden harbor are
awaiting trial, but the one man that U.S. officials see as a key
culprit — Osama bin Laden — remains as elusive as ever.
Five days of fierce bombing of Afghanistan have yet to smoke out
the Saudi-born militant who has now come back to haunt the
United States as the prime suspect in the September 11 suicide
plane attacks on New York and Washington.
Sanaa is eager to close the Cole case but has agreed to a U.S.
request to delay the start of the trial in a bid to get more
information and net more suspects, Yemeni officials said.
"The file is almost closed. There are some names of people
who are not in Yemen. We and the Americans are trying to find
information on them," Yemen's Prime Minister Abdul Qader
Bajammal told Reuters in a recent interview.
Finding information in Yemen, seen in the West as a haven for
Muslim militants, will not be easy because the government does
not have control over all areas of the country.
One day after last month's attacks on the United States, 12
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents probing the Cole
attack left Yemen, apparently fearing fresh violence.
There have also been reports of friction between Yemeni and U.S.
officials investigating the Cole attack, although Sanaa insists
there are no problems.
Closer cooperation with Washington is more important than ever
now that President Bush has warned nations they are either with
or against America in its war on terrorism.
"The Yemenis are working more closely now with the
Americans after Bush's statements," said a senior Western
But the two sides do not seem to agree on bin Laden's alleged
involvement in the Cole incident.
While U.S. officials believe he played a role, some Yemeni
officials are not so sure.
"Neither Yemen nor the Americans came to a firm conclusion
that there is a connection between bin Laden and this
group," Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Abdullah al-Saidi
But one thing is clear — bringing the perpetrators of the Cole
attack to justice will require patience.
"This is going to take a long time," said another
Western diplomat in Sanaa.
With one of the world's lowest per capita incomes, Yemen is
eager to lure foreign cash and help its fragile economy,
especially after the Cole blast dealt a blow to tourism, a
leading income earner.
Yemeni authorities have moved swiftly to tighten security hoping
to prevent further violence against foreigners amid fears that
the U.S. air strikes on Afghanistan could spark retaliation here
against U.S. and European interests.
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