WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus released the following Independence Day message to the fleet:
"Two hundred thirty three years ago today, 56 patriots gathered in Philadelphia to pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the idea that all can live in freedom. The signers of the Declaration of Independence came from all walks of life, joining together as one to claim for themselves and their descendants the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
The Continental Navy and Continental Marines played crucial roles in winning our nation's freedom. In the months after the declaration, Marines and Sailors serving together aboard naval vessels, like the continental frigate Bonhomme Richard under Capt. John Paul Jones took the fight to the enemy's home waters. Now, as then, you come from all walks of life to your calling on the front lines of freedom. You are taking the fight to the enemy, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa and anywhere liberty is threatened.
Across the country, Americans gather on this holiday to celebrate the freedoms we all enjoy. As they do, their thoughts turn to you, who stand the watch on land and sea, beneath the waves and in the air. From the first state to the last frontier, Americans everywhere are thankful for your service, proud of your accomplishments and wish you Godspeed.
On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for giving your time and your talent in the service of our country. Happy Independence Day to you and your families."
For more news from the Secretary of the Navy, visit www.navy.mil/secnav.