Hear my voice, America! Though I speak through the
mist of 200 years, my shout for freedom will echo
through liberty's halls for many centuries to come.
Hear me speak, for my words are of truth and justice,
and the rights of man. For those ideals I have spilled
my blood upon the world's troubled waters. Listen
well, for my time is eternal -yours is but a moment. I
am the spirit of heroes past and future.
I am the American Sailor. I was born upon the icy
shores at Plymouth, rocked upon the waves of the
Atlantic, and nursed in the wilderness of Virginia. I
cut my teeth on New England codfish, and I was
clothed in southern cotton. I built muscle at the
halyards of New Bedford whalers, and I gained my sea
legs high atop mizzen of yankee clipper ships.
Yes, I am the American Sailor, one of the greatest
seamen the world has ever known. The sea is my home
and my words are tempered by the sound of paddle
wheels on the Mississippi and the song of whales off
Greenland's barren shore. My eyes have grown dim
from the glare of sunshine on blue water, and my heart
is full of star-strewn nights under the Southern Cross.
My hands are raw from winter storms while sailing
down round the Horn, and they are blistered from the
heat of cannon broadside while defending our nation.
I am the American Sailor, and I have seen the sunset of
a thousand distant, lonely lands.
I am the American Sailor. It was I who stood tall
beside John Paul Jones as he shouted, "I have not yet
begun to fight!" I fought upon the Lake Erie with
Perry, and I rode with Stephen Decatur into Tripoli
harbor to burn Philadelphia. I met Guerriere aboard
Constitution, and I was lashed to the mast with
Admiral Farragut at Mobile Bay. I have heard the
clang of Confederate shot against the sides of Monitor.
I was also shaken by the the Monitor's mighty
Dahlgren guns shaking the side of the CSS Virginia.
I have suffered the cold with Peary at the North Pole,
and I responded when Dewy said, "You may fire when
ready Gridley," at Manila Bay. It was I who
transported supplies through submarine infested
waters when our soldier's were called "over there." I
was there as Admiral Byrd crossed the South Pole. It
was I who went down with the Arizona at Pearl
Harbor, who supported our troops at Inchon, and
patrolled dark deadly waters of the Mekong Delta.
I am the American Sailor and I wear many faces. I am
a pilot soaring across God's blue canopy and I am a
Seabee atop a dusty bulldozer in the South Pacific. I
am a corpsman nursing the wounded in the jungle, and
I am a torpedoman in the Nautilus deep beneath the
North Pole. I am hard and I am strong. But it was my
eyes that filled with tears when my brother went down
with the Thresher, and it was my heart that rejoiced
when Commander Shepherd rocketed into orbit above
the earth. It was I who languished in a Viet Cong
prison camp, and it was I who walked upon the moon.
It was I who saved the Stark and the Samuel B.
Roberts in the mine infested waters of the Persian
Gulf. It was I who pulled my brothers from the smoke
filled compartments of the Bonefish and wept when
my shipmates died on the Iowa and White Plains.
When called again, I was there, on the tip of the spear
for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
I am the American Sailor. I am woman, I am man, I
am white and black, yellow, red and brown. I am Jew,
Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist. I am Irish, Filipino,
African, French, Chinese, and American Indian.
And my standard is the outstretched hand of Liberty.
Today, I serve around the world; on land, in air, on and
under the sea. I serve proudly, at peace once again, but with
the fervent prayer that I need not be called again. Tell
your children of me. Tell them of my sacrifice, and how
my spirit soars above their country. I have spread the
mantle of my nation over the ocean, and I will guard
her forever. I am her heritage and yours.
I am the American Sailor.