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Davis Praises Cole Sailor From San Diego at Southland Rites

October 19, 2000|From a Times staff writer

SAN DIEGO — In a memorial ceremony at the San Diego Naval Base, Seaman Apprentice Lakiba Nicole Palmer, who was killed last week in the bombing attack on the U.S. guided missile destroyer Cole in Yemen, was praised by Gov. Gray Davis as "a daughter of San Diego who stood watch around the world so we could be free."

Palmer, 22, who is survived by her husband and their 2-year-old daughter, graduated from San Diego High School, where she was a star athlete and a member of the choir. More than a thousand sailors attended a dockside ceremony with two Navy ships, the amphibious assault ship Boxer and hospital ship Mercy, as a backdrop.

"We will not be deterred from protecting our nation's interests," said Adm. Tom Fargo, commander of the Navy's Pacific Fleet. "Our resolve could not be stronger."

Palmer's father, Hugh Palmer, told reporters: "I just keep searching for an answer why this had to happen. I guess I'll search for a long time."

Palmer's grandmother, Helen Palmer-Shaw, said the most emotional part of the ceremony was the solemn reading of the 17 names of Cole crew members killed in the attack. "We are just one family among many who are suffering today," she said.

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