As we celebrate the United States Navy
's 226th year of defending this great republic, it is fitting that we take a few moments to reflect upon our proud heritage. Throughout history, our Navy and our Nation have defeated every adversary and every challenger we have faced.
In the earliest days of our republic, USS Constitution and her sister ships defeated the most powerful navies in the world. In World War II, the attack on Pearl Harbor spurred us on to sweep the Imperial Fleet from the Pacific. Today we face a new foe in a new kind of war, but at the end of the day, the result will be the same — victory.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, will echo through history. My charge to you is to never forget. Never forget this attack on the American way of life. Never forget the lives of our shipmates and countrymen lost. Never forget the selfless acts of bravery and generosity that emerged following the attacks. With renewed purpose, we will come to remember September 11th as the day that marked the beginning of the end for these enemies of freedom. When I took office last May, I outlined four strategic priorities for our Navy. Today, these priorities — combat capability, people, technology and improved business practices — demand an even greater sense of urgency as we wage the first war of the 21st century
. Over the years, our Navy has adapted to changes in technology, tactics and command structures to counter new threats to our way of life. This is the strength of our Navy.
I know that in ships, submarines and squadrons around the world, you stand ready to answer our nation's call. During the course of this challenging year, our Nation will continue to count on your honor, courage and commitment. As our Navy sails into its 226th year, I encourage each of you to take a few moments to reflect on the blessings we enjoy that were earned by earlier generations. Your children, grandchildren and future generations will likewise honor your defense of freedom.
Happy Birthday Shipmates! God Bless each of you, your families and the United States of America.