A memorial service was held on Thursday afternoon to honor the life of a Connecticut sailor who died back in June.
Ngoc T. (Tan) Truong Huynh, 25, was one of the seven people killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship.
The Watertown-Oakville Veterans Council held the memorial service for him on Thursday afternoon on the Oakville Green.
Huynh was born in Vietnam but grew up right here in Watertown, going to the high school then going to Naugatuck Community College before joining the Navy.
His family says serving our country quickly became his passion, but tragically ended in death.
"It was so touching," said Lori Hughson, who took a moment to remember Tan. "People were in tears standing up. It's even hard to talk about now that someone so young sacrificed their life."
The memorial service was the first of at least two memorials for Tan. The timing of the event was scheduled in conjunction with his funeral.
"This town, it's probably what keeps me around here. This town is so patriotic," said Mickey Corcoran, the organizer of the memorial service.
At the exact moment when bells tolled for Hyunh in Oakville, the 25-year-old sailor was being laid to rest in Oklahoma.
The Huynh family moved to the midwest just weeks before his death, but on Thursday, his New England community showed they would never forget.
“Being from Oakville, it's a brotherhood. We're all together,” said Tom DeMatteis, of Oakville.
"This is a nice community here between Watertown and Oakville and people do come together in a time of need," Hughson said. "I've seen it more than once."
DeMatteis didn't know Huynh, but growing up in the same town and also serving in the same base Huynh did, he feels the connection.
“Not the same boat, but the same base, Yokosuka, Japan. I know the waterways well. I know the area.” DeMatteis said.
According to officials, Huynh was a former Watertown resident and was stationed on the U.S. warship in Japanese waters.
He was among seven sailors who went missing after the collision. Right now it appears this was an accident.
It was later announced by the Navy that all seven of them had died, including Ngoc, who was a sonar technician.
A Navy veteran who was stationed in Japan put out a sign outside of Martino's Pizza right across from Hughson's hair salon.
It read "Freedom isn't free! RIP U.S. Navy sailor Ngoc T. Truong Huynh."
Huynh's family was not in attendance because of the funeral services, but organizers say they were in constant communication during the planning of Thursday’s ceremony, humbled that their son and brother was still being remembered miles away in the place he once called home.
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