Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Great White Fleet

One hundred year ago, today, February 22, 1909, the Great White Fleet returned to the U.S. Naval base at Hampton Roads/Norfolk, Virginia. President Theodore Roosevelt greeted the returning fleet and spoke on board the U.S.S. Connecticut.

This is Washington's birthday, too often blurred in the celebration of Presidents Day. When the fleet returned on Washington's birthday, TR, his presidency in its final weeks, enjoyed this capstone achievement.

In the journey of the Great White Fleet, the United States demonstrated to the world that we could do in peace what might be necessary to do in war.

In 1897, as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, TR went to the US Naval War College and said that America had only given lip loyal service to the Washingtonian maxim that the most effectual means of preserving the peace was preparing for war. With the journey and the sacrifice of the Great White Fleet our loyalty to Washington's wisdom became the bond of deeds over words.

God bless the United States Navy.