The soldiers on his ship, the USS Klakring, dressed in their white uniforms and lined up in a formation to spell "911 NEVER FORGET" on the flight deck that was visible from the air. They did it while they were on a six-month deployment to South America.
Obviously, Sunday's 10-year anniversary of 9/11 carries a little more weight with Kettani, who completed two years of active duty before joining the Patriots in training camp in July. Kettani, who is in selective reserve status for six years, joined the team's practice squad this week.
"I'm just a football player, but at the same token, I was a lieutenant junior grade in the United States Navy," Kettani said when asked about the meaning of 9/11. "9/11 is a thing that people can't forget about. Ten years is a long time. People are always saying time heals wounds, but it's not about football. It's about the whole nation, not just a whole."
Kettani said the anniversary of 9/11 is remembered in similar fashion to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which wound up changing the way the Navy conducted certain business.
"When I was on the ship, I focused on damage control and things like that," Kettani said. "If we get hit by a missile or if we get attacked, we need to be able to defend ourselves out at sea. We need to be fully functional by ourselves. Being able to isolate certain valves, certain holes, that's huge, and the damage control in the Navy changed after Pearl Harbor."
When reached by NESN.com in May, Kettani and former Patriots wide receiver Tyree Barnes spoke more about their feelings on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
"One of my officers," Kettani said, "he's like, '10 days, 10 months, 10 years, it doesn't matter. We're not stopping until we find someone, until we stop the war.' The War on Terror is a huge deal in the military, in the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, it doesn't matter who it is. The War on Terror is out there at all times. The 10-year anniversary is a big deal for the country and for the armed forces."
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