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Remembering Victims Of 1963 Submarine Disaster

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Roger Wood

Hundreds of Portsmouth Navy Yard employees and personnel gathered at the shipyard Wednesday to honor those who died 50 years ago when the U.S.S  Thresher sank.

The ceremony began with the tolling of a bell 129 times, once for each person lost aboard the Thresher. The tragedy, off Cape Cod in 1963 is the nation's worst submarine disaster. Rear Admiral Select Bryant Fuller, commander at the yard, began the ceremony at 9:17 a.m., when the submarine was last heard from.

"Among the 129 souls on board the Thresher that day were several from our own shipyard. They were brothers, sons, fathers, friends. They were patriots. Thresher will always be part of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard."

During the ceremony, the shipyard whistle was sounded for an extended period of time, the Shipyard honor guard fired a gun salute, and a local High School student played Taps. One shipyard employee, Paul O'Connor said that the solemn ceremony reminds him of the importance of the work done at the yard to insure the safety of submarine crews.

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