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Words from CO of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy

  This msg was forwarded by a friend, who received it from his friend on board
the USS John F. Kennedy. The text is the 1MC (Ship's general announcing
system) announcement given by the John F. Kennedy (CV 67) Commanding Officer,
Capt Ron Howard, shortly before the JFK launched her first strikes into
Afghanistan (March 10). A poignant read from a leader to his entire crew,
each of whom has been placed in harms way in this nation's battle against
terrorism. It is also another important reminder to those of us at home of
the sacrifices the members of our Armed Forces make on a daily basis to
preserve our freedom. May God bless and protect them.
Subject: Commanding Officer's words to the crew...

Good evening onboard John F Kennedy, Carrier Air Wing SEVEN, and Carrier Air
Wing SEVEN, and Carrier Group Six. We are currently proceeding at best speed
to our la! unch point for tonight's strikes, off the coast of Pakistan, nearly
700 miles south of our targets
in Afghanistan.

At midnight, CVW 7 will launch into the dark night, and strike their first
blows of Operation Enduring Freedom, the war on terrorism. For us this is a
culminating point in space, a culminating point in time, and a culminating
point in history.

Our enemy is a group of religious fanatics, who pervert the peace of Islam
and twist its meaning to justify the murder of thousands of innocents at the
Twin Towers of New York, at the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania.

They hate us and attack us because they oppose all that is good about
America. They hate us because we are prosperous. They hate us because we are
tolerant. They hate us because we are happy. Mostly, they hate us because we
are free and because we will "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any
hardship, support any friend or oppose any foe to assure ! the survival and
success of liberty." Make no mistake - this is fight for Western
Civilization. If these monsters are not destroyed they will destroy us, and
our children and children's children will live in fear forever.

America is the only nation that can stop them and destroy them. Only America
has the strength of character and the vast resources to hunt these fanatics
down anywhere in the world. We have friends and Allies but we are the
leaders of the world our forefathers made and died for. Our Naval power has
been the principal weapon of our resolve. Great ships and great crews have
STENNIS. Tonight, our enemies will feel the power of USS JOHN F KENNEDY.

It is now our turn to strike for justice and we will strike hard.  Millions
of Americans wish they could be here tonight with us. They saw the Twin
Towers fall, and watched helplessly, wanting t! o do something to defend
America and our way of life. For us tonight, that wait and that helplessness
are over. We have reached the point where we are all part of something so
much greater than ourselves. For the rest of our lives, no matter whether we
stay in the Navy or move on to civilian life, no matter what we do or where
we go, we will remember that on 10 March 2002, we came together and struck a
blow for freedom.

All of us are volunteers. Most of us joined the Navy to serve our country
and better ourselves. Tonight and in the nights to come we are given the
opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to truly make a difference in the world.
Our namesake John F. Kennedy wrote that "a single person can make a
difference, and every person should try." Tonight, WE make a difference! We
represent America in all its power and diversity. We are men and women, rich
and poor, black and white, and all colors of the human rainbow. We are
Chris! tian, Jew, and yes, Muslim. WE ARE AMERICA.

This war will not be short, pleasant, or easy. It has already required the
sacrifice of our firefighters, our policemen, our soldiers, our Sailors, our
airmen, and our Marines. More sacrifices will be made. In the end we will
win, precisely because we are those things that the terrorists hate -
prosperous, happy, tolerant, and most of all, free.

Those Americans who wish they could be here with us are, in fact, here with
us in spirit. Never before in American history has our nation been so
completely unified and resolute in purpose. Every one of them is cheering us
on, praying for our safety and our success. Our families are behind us 100%.

We will not let them down. We are, and will be, men and women of honor,
courage, and commitment.  I believe, as Abraham Lincoln said, that "America
is the last, best hope for  the world". Tonight we hold a shining beacon of
that hope. We ! shall keep it  burning brightly.

Stay sharp. Stay focused. Stay safe. Use the training that has made you the
best Sailors in the world, the best Sailors in the history of the world.

Trust in your faith, and in your shipmates. God bless us all, and God bless


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