July 4, 2007 - Indianapolis Star
Let's Match Courage of Those Who Serve Country
This weekend Indianapolis will again host some extraordinary men. The survivors of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis are here to mark the 62nd anniversary of one of history's most dramatic stories of human endurance and resilience. For four tortuous days, the heroic crew was adrift at sea and lost shipmates to shark attacks, injuries and extreme privation. These brave shipmates survived against all odds.
Their loyalty to each other, their nation and their commanding officer, Capt. Charles Butler McVay III, is inspiring.
Based on the crew's long dedication to their captain and in response to their wishes, as Secretary of the Navy, I directed Capt. McVay's naval record to be made right by the inclusion of a Joint Sense of Congress. For me, it was the beginning of a lasting friendship with the survivors and their families.
A lesson from prior wars and the conflict facing the nation today is that the courage of those who serve needs to be matched by the will of America's political leadership. Ultimately, success in all wars is about political will. It requires strong leadership to look beyond the rhetoric of the day and boldly address long-term threats to our nation.
To the heroes of the USS Indianapolis, thank you for doing your duty, for your loyalty to America and the cause of liberty and freedom. The courage, honor and commitment of our military, matched by national and political resolve, are the only way to ensure freedom and liberty for our children and grandchildren.