The terrorist action that killed 17 sailors brought the victims' families together, Patty Wibberley said Tuesday.
"They are our family now, the Cole family," she said.
On past anniversaries of the 2000 attack on the Cole in Yemen, the Wibberley family attended a national ceremony at the Norfolk (Va.) Naval Station, where a monument was dedicated to the fallen crew members.
This year, the family decided to attend the annual ceremony at Craig Wibberley's grave at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Boonsboro.
About 30 people, mostly veterans, attended the ceremony that was to start at 11:42 a.m., the exact moment the explosion rocked the Cole.
The veterans and the Wibberleys later attended a 1 p.m. ceremony at Patrick Roy's grave at Antietam National Cemetery. About 70 people attended that ceremony, including Roy's mother, Kate Brown, his father, Michael Roy and his stepmother, Anne Roy.
Tom and Patty Wibberley, who moved from Williamsport to Boonsboro, spoke to Roy's parents after the ceremonies.
Members of the VFW spoke at both ceremonies, expressing condolences and urging people to never forget how the sailors died.
"They did not die in a traditional war. We pray for peace so this never happens again," Ronald Dickens, state commander of the VFW, said at the ceremony for Wibberley.
"All 17 ... took their tour of duty to a port we call heaven," Dickens said at the ceremony for Roy.
After Dickens spoke, Kate Brown of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., thanked those who attended the ceremony.
She said she is honored that VFW members feels so strongly about the deaths that they organize and attend the ceremonies each year.
The ceremony, and the attendance, is a moving experience, Michael Roy said.
"It is a very fine thing," he said.