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"This is the time for all Burger King franchiseees to come together and support the families of the sailors," said Cimmarusti. "All of us in Hampton Roads area were stricken by the loss of our friends and family members who lost their lives while serving their country." Cimmarusti called together an impromtu meeting of area Burger King representatives shortly after the news to organize the drive.
Hampton Roads encompases the cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, and Portsmouth. It is home to the Norfolk Naval Base, one of the largest in the world. Just across the James River is the Newport News Naval Shipyard, where huge destoyers, battleships, and aircraft carriers can be seen undergoing repair and in various stages of construction. Thousands of Navy families and personnel live on the base and in surrounding areas.
The Norfolk-based USS Cole was bombed on October 17 while on patrol in the Middle East. Seventeen soldiers were killed in the attack.