Fallen sailors honored during ‘Bells Across America’ ceremony

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Those who died while serving were honored Thursday at the Naval Support Activity Panama City. It is part of a nationwide program called ‘Bells Across America.’ 

At the ceremony they rang the bell 69 times, to recognize 69 fallen Navy service members from Bay County, Northwest Florida and lower Alabama. 

One of those bells rang for Stephanie Martin’s husband, a sailor who lost his life to a heart attack on the U.S.S. Enterprise, right before it was about to make its last and final voyage. 

“He has 28 years and 11 months when he passed away and he was going for 33,” said Martin. “He was definitely a lifer.” 

She was one of two gold star families attending the 5th annual ceremony. 

“It is nice to keep him remembered,” said Martin. “We have friends here still and it’s nice to see that they’re all here to honor him too.” 

The ceremony paying tribute to the men and women who died in service to our county and to recognize gold star families who lost loved ones. 

“This memorial commemorates their contributions, their commitments and their sacrifices,” said NSA Panama City Commander Kevin Christenson. 

Martin says her husband would be happy if he could see this ceremony in action. 

“We still have to keep going for our families and our children, so I think he’d be pleased and proud,” said Martin. 

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