2007 USS Liberty Memorial Speech
The first thing I would like to talk about, in speaking for the USS Liberty survivors, is the organization "No Greater Love". These special people have been conducting ceremonies on June 8th annually at this location, for many, many years now, honoring our thirty-four shipmates killed during the attack on our ship June 8, 1967.
It is with great gratitude that we thank you, words will never describe how much your kindness means to us.
Next, we thank ALL of you here with us today to honor our thirty-four fallen shipmates and their families.
These men joined the US Navy to serve their country to the best of their abilities. They were well trained at their jobs, as well as at their stations during General Quarters. They would be so disappointed if they knew that in their time of need and while giving their all, and finally – their lives, the US Government would not allow US Navy planes to come to our assistance while under attack. They would be even more disappointed if they knew that the US Congress, under the deep influence of the country that attacked us, has refused to stand up and be Americans and determining why the Liberty was intentionally attacked by Israel – AND why the US Government has covered up the attack, in its entirety, including the fact that it had the Navy Court of Inquiry conduct a fraudulent investigation, concluding that in a pre-determined finding of "accidental attack" in their final report.
I'm not here to talk about politics, politicians or governments, I just want to say a few words about my heroes – my shipmates.
The word "hero" has been over-used by people such as athletes and actors. We're not talking about a football player with a sore leg who still scores a touchdown.
We are talking about Americans on a ship that is under attack, being hit with rockets, cannon and machine gun fire, and even napalm. Then when it seems like things can't get any worse – it is hit by a torpedo!
These men don't run and hide, even though they have very little in the way of weapons to defend themselves. No – they are fighting fires and pulling their wounded shipmates off the main deck while being shot at themselves. They are doing damage control, taking the positions at the stations of men killed or wounded, going to gun mounts of our machine guns, standing over the bodies of shipmates and friends – all this while they try not to slip or slide in the huge pool of blood on the deck. These are the same heroes swimming around in the dark oily waters in the torpedoed area, finding people still alive and bringing them up to safety. A wounded doctor, covering his wound, and working for hours saving lives and putting people's bodies back together. A Captain that refuses medical attention until his men have been tended to and then staying on the bridge, giving orders, steering by the stars, and telling young men, tired and in shock, directions for turning the ship manually from down below. Men in the engine room refusing to leave their stations, even though they know that if the torpedo enters their area, every thing and every one will be blown to pieces. Over a hundred men with terrible wounds and mangled bodies, laying quietly with enormous amounts of pain, not complaining, waiting for their turn to get aid.
Those that survived – and those that died – are REAL American heroes. These are MY heroes, friends and shipmates. These heroes are one of the first things I think about each morning when I wake. I am SO proud, as are my shipmates, to have served with them and how very proud their families and friends must be too.
Maybe someday when some REAL American is running this Country, this ship and its crew will have a place in history books, as they should.
As Vice Admiral William Martin stated in July 1967, "I commend to every man who sails in the 6th Fleet, the fact that the USS Liberty has become a legend in her own times." This quote is from an outstanding article titled "Heroism Aboard the USS Liberty 40 Years Ago" and is printed in the June/July 2007 issue of the VFW Magazine.
Please join us as we honor our heroes, dead or alive.
Thank you all again for being here.
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IF AMERICANS KNEW