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Submitted by on Sat, 05/03/2008 - 8:24pm.

It was standing room only Saturday as more than 6,000 people packed the Port of Wilmington for the commissioning of the submarine North Carolina. She is now officially the USS North Carolina. A crowd laden with veterans looked on as the flags that had flown that morning on the Battleship North Carolina were hoisted aboard the sub. Amidst extremely heavy security, the Secretary of the Navy was here to give the command that made it all official. "It was exciting," Petty Officer Lee Bolling said. "It was emotional because we worked so hard to get the sub to this point." That North Carolina pride permeated the day, even up to the admiral. Navy Secretary Donald Winter was pleased with the day despite initial uncertainty. Among those standing most proudly, the guys who paved the way to today: North Carolina's submarine veterans. "It's just great. It makes the tradition continue and we're glad to be here," said Dick Kanning, a submarine vet. The sub is leaving Monday afternoon, heading down the Cape Fear river at 2:00. That will be your next best chance to see it.

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