Remarks by the First Lady at Coast Guard Cutter Ceremony
Alameda Coast Guard Station
10:26 A.M. PST
MRS. OBAMA: Hooray! (Applause.) Rest. Goodness. This is very exciting.
Good morning, everyone.
AUDIENCE: Good morning!
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, you all are troopers. (Laughter.) Way to go. I'm proud of you all for making it through this day. This is very exciting.
I want to thank Captain Cashin for that introduction and for his leadership of this crew. I also want to thank Admiral Papp and his wonderful wife Linda, Mayor Gilmore, Mayor Quan, Representative Lee, and all of the military officials, elected leaders, and distinguished guests here with us today.
We also have many members of the Stratton family here today, some of whom I had a chance to meet at the christening in Pascagoula. That was fun, it's good to see you all again. We were a little dryer then, but it's okay. You still look great. (Laughter.)
And of course, I want to thank all of the members of the Coast Guard, and all of their military -- all the military families who are here with us today. Please know that you all inspire me every single day with your strength, with your courage, with the sacrifices you make on behalf of our nation. No matter what this country asks of you, you always step up to answer the call -- always.
So it is fitting that all of you are here today, because it is that ethic of service that defined the life of this cutter's namesake -- Captain Dorothy Stratton. And today, we commission this ship as a tribute not just to Dorothy, but to all the women who served with her. And we are honored that more than 40 former SPARS have joined us here for this ceremony.
These women are heroes -- absolutely. (Applause.) These women are heroes. They served this country so bravely, and broke so many barriers. They paved the way for generations of women who came after them, and they helped build a world where young women all across America -- young women like my daughters -- to know that they can become anything they can imagine, even an admiral.
So to all of the SPARS here today, to all those who couldn’t make it to the ceremony, and to all of the families whose memory we honor, I want you all to know that your legacy lives on in this ship and in this incredible crew. This cutter will travel great distances to protect our shores and enforce national and international security. And this crew will soon add its own entry into the proud history of the United States Coast Guard.
True to your motto, the Coast Guard is always ready -- always ready -- securing our ports, responding to national -- natural disasters, intercepting vast shipments of illegal drugs before they reach our streets and our schools, and serving all around the country and the world, including Afghanistan. And I know that the Coast Guard is backed by a proud force of brave individuals who serve this country right alongside them, and those are the Coast Guard families.
To all of the family members here today, I know that service in the Coast Guard takes your mom or dad or your husband or wife out to sea and away from you. And I know that it means that you're taking on new responsibilities at home; that you're wishing that mom or dad was at your soccer games or the dance recital. And, yes, you are dealing with those worries about your loved ones' safety.
So my message to you today is this: You are never alone. You are never alone. People like me, my husband, and, believe me, millions of Americans know about your service. We are inspired by your sacrifice, and we want to do everything we can to honor your contributions to this country. And that is something that I've seen every single day through our Joining Forces initiative.
It's important for you to know that people and communities and businesses are stepping up. They are stepping in meaningful ways -- meaningful, concrete ways to recognize your service. And know that we will keep stepping up again and again until you feel all the love and support that you deserve.
So to the crew of this magnificent cutter, I want you to know that we will be looking out for your families while you're gone. And again, I want you to know how proud we are of all of you. Like those heroes from past generations, you heard our country's call, and you stood up to answer. And I know you've been preparing for a long time for this mission. And I have no doubt that you will carry on the proud Coast Guard tradition and serve our country with honor and distinction.
So thank you. Thank you for your courage, your dedication to this great nation. Thank you to the military families who serve by your side. And of course, thank you to the SPARS whose service has made us all so proud.
God bless you all. God bless the Coast Guard. And God bless the United States of America. Semper Paratus. (Applause.)
10:31 A.M. PST