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Good evening everyone. Admiral Cox, Director Swift, Doctor Rentfrow, thank you for that warm welcome.
Happy belated birthday to every Sailor here tonight!
And happy early birthday to the Marines!
Our Sailors and Marines stand the watch together, deterring our adversaries, projecting power and presence on a global scale.
Ours is a never-ending mission, and no place exemplifies that constant activity more than the Washington Navy Yard.
Within the perimeter of this historic place, generations of Sailors, Marines, and civilians dedicated themselves in service to protect our nation, drive solutions, and build a global force.
The sloop of war USS WASP was built here in 1806, and on this very day 210 years ago, it defeated HMS FROLIC in heavy seas and fierce, close action during the War of 1812.
Many other ships, like USS CONSTITUTION – which I will sail on this week – prepared for war right here in the Navy Yard.
Within the Navy Yard perimeters, we developed innovations in sail, steam, gunnery, and nuclear propulsion securing the critical edge, time and again.
And within these perimeters, the unknown service members of both World Wars and the Korea War arrived under the protection of our Marines and Sailors.
The stories within the walls of the Washington Navy Yard are indeed the stories of our Nation.
Our Nation deserves to hear these stories, to see these artifacts, and to remember these heroes.
And they must be reminded of the Sailors and Marines who stand the watch today, deterring adversaries, and projecting power on a global scale.
Right now, they are serving beneath the waves aboard nuclear submarines with a constant presence, readiness, and lethality.
Right now, they are aboard the most advanced aircraft carrier ever – USS GERALD R. FORD, sending a powerful message to friend and foe alike with its first operational deployment.
Right now, they are protecting the vital sea lanes and shorelines aboard the world’s finest surface warships.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 247 years strong, our Sailors and Marines stand the watch.
The oceans are the lifeblood of our maritime nation, and our future strength depends on the public’s understanding of our mission today.
In order to meet the challenges of a dangerous world, we must recruit, retain, mentor and promote the best of all of our nation has to offer
We must engage the American people and tell them the story of the U.S. Navy. We must educate as many as we can on the vital work that our Sailors do to protect them every single day.
That’s why from day one I have made it a priority to get the new National Museum of the United States Navy done and open to the public as fast as possible.
The museum you are in today welcomes 100,000 visitors per year, but just think of the impact we could make if we could welcome 1.5 million visitors instead.
Think about our future young men and women who will be inspired by a modern facility, with advanced technology, telling our Navy story in a bold and interactive way.
The exhibits of this new museum will create a living memorial to the U.S. Navy’s heritage of victory and valor, bringing to life the human experiences of serving at sea.
It will give all the visitors of the future museum – regardless of their previous military experience – a greater appreciation and understanding of the economic and diplomatic importance of what a strong and robust Navy means to not only our National Security – but to our Economic Security as well.
We will honor the sacrifices of our veterans.
We will celebrate our Sailors that are currently serving.
We will help to grow the public’s understanding of our mission.
And we will inspire tomorrow’s Sailors.
So we need to get started now, as we close in on our 250th anniversary.
That’s why today I am announcing the preferred site for this new museum, at the Tingey Street Gate, right next to the North West corner of this yard.
This location is accessible to the public, close to the metro and the highway, in a dynamic and growing DC neighborhood
Construction of the museum on this site also is the preferred alternative, under the National Environmental Policy Act, to address security and encroachment concerns at the yard.
We are determined to get this done as good neighbors, working closely with the local community during the land acquisition process.
We will be transparent and consistent in all of our communications and negotiations.
This is not just a Navy project – it is a project for the people of the United States and our Washington, D.C. neighbors.
We look forward to welcoming visitors from across the US and around the globe to this new facility in the coming years, to learn, to explore, and to be inspired by our great Navy history, and our even brighter Navy future.
I am grateful to everyone whose hard work helped bring us to this great moment.
I especially want to thank the Navy Museum Development Foundation for partnering with the Department of the Navy on the development, design, construction, renovation, and operation of the future museum.
Thank you all for your continued determination, vision, and professional excellence as we move forward together on this vital American project.
So happy birthday shipmates. Enjoy the wonderful exhibits and history that surrounds us tonight.
And I look forward to one day welcoming you all to a brand new National Museum of the United States Navy!
It is now my pleasure to welcome to the stage the President of the Board of the Navy Museum Development Foundation, Vice Admiral Retired Albert Konetzni!
Carlos Del Toro
18 October 2022
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