The USS New York -- built with 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel -- became an official part of the navy fleet Saturday. Crew members were dispatched to their first watch, accompanied by loud cheering, canons firing capped off with a flyover by navy fighter pilots.

The commissioning ceremony on Manhattan's West Side began with a moment of silence for the victims of September 11th, and well as those killed Thursday at Fort Hood, Texas.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address, saying the ship embodies the strength and perseverance of those, who sacrificed their lives in the September 11th terrorist attacks.

"The motto of the USS New York is "Strength Forged Through Sacrifice. Never Forget," Clinton said. "By commissioning this ship today, we reaffirm the best and the worst of humanity, that we have seen from September 11th to Fort Hood, she added.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor David Paterson and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani were also present, along with hundreds of naval officers, sailors, first responders and victims' families.

Paterson added the ship represents "a step out of the rubble of September 11th and a step into a future that's hopefully bright."

Officers aboard the ship said they're honored to command a vessel commemorating the World Trade Center. "No matter how many times you attack us, we always come back," Secretary Of The Navy Ray Mabus echoed the same sentiment saying "America always comes back. That's what this ship represents."

The amphibious assault vessel dropped anchor Monday on the West Side, and will be open to the public until Thursday, when she lifts anchor and heads for her home port in Virginia. The USS New York is expected to be in commission for about 40 years.