The ceremony took place at the ship's home port of Norfolk, Va., with scores of dignitaries and former crew members on hand to reminisce and sing the praises of the ship and its 51-year service record.
The "Big E" will be towed to Puget Sound in Washington, where its eight nuclear reactors will be removed and the rest of the ship cut up for scrap. The Dallas Morning News said it would be impossibly expensive to put the ship back together once the reactors were taken out and turn it into any type of museum.
The Hampton Roads Daily Press said the Saturday afternoon ceremony was preceded Friday by a reunion of former Enterprise crew members, including sailors who were aboard in 1969 when a flight-deck accident triggered a series of fuel and ordnance explosions that killed 28 shipmates and injured more than 300.
"I see what it was like that day," veteran Michael Neville told CBS News. "You don't get rid of that memory."
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