The shield is dark blue and gold, the colors traditionally associated with the U.S. Navy, representing the sea and excellence. The crossed swords represent the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The red is for sacrifice and valor and the white recalls purity of purpose. The gray chevron and two vertical bars represent the bow of LPD 21 and the Twin Towers respectively. They are conjoined to emphasize the use of 24 tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center, to construct the 7.5 metric ton bow stem of the USS New York.
The phoenix rising personifies the hope and determination of this nation to rebuild and regroup to fight terrorism. The shield on the breast of the phoenix honors the New York City Fire Department, New York City Police Department and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The vertical red stripe is for the fire department, the dark blue stripe is the traditional blue for the police department and the light blue stripe is for the Port Authority Police Department.
The Celeste is taken from the patch of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Celeste also alludes to coastal waters and the port of New York. The red drops represent blood shed and the ultimate sacrifice made by the men and women of 9/11. The stars commemorate the three battle stars the USS New York battleship earned during World War II (at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and North Africa). The border of the shield is adapted from the New York State Seal.
The sunburst represents the crown of the Statue of Liberty. They represent the seven seas and continents of the world and also suggest a direct connection to the littoral missions of the USS New York anywhere in the world, past and present. The mountains and lakes surrounded by the maple leaves represent the natural beauty of the State of New York.
The motto, “Never Forget,” is a stark reminder of the events on which the legacy of USS New York is built.