As I returned home from formally welcoming the seventh Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine, fourth ship in the United States Navy named in honor of Missouri to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, I am full of an abundant amount of pride and humility. We often get so busy and caught up in our everyday lives that we forget to reflect on moments that are dear to us as people and as Americans.
It has been years since I was directly involved with the Army. It was fascinating to get to experience the life of a sailor firsthand. When we submerged into the water 600 feet, I was reminded of the sacrifices the men and women make to protect the United States of America. This trip just reinforced the respect I have for all military personnel and their families. When someone pours his or her life into the armed forces, each are committed to protect and make great sacrifices for us.
When the USS Missouri (SSN-780) passed right next to the retired battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), and the people were chanting “Mighty MO, Mighty MO,” I had chills up and down my body. I looked around, and people everywhere were so prideful. They were prideful of Missouri and the United States.
The Battleship Missouri Memorial welcomed the USS Missouri with a special reception aboard the fantail of the “Mighty MO.” During the ceremony, I joined 80 crew members and their families, dignitaries from Hawaii and U.S. naval personnel. I presented the governor’s proclamation, which signifies the historic service of the two USS Missouri ships and their crews to the defense of our country. It also symbolizes Missourians’ appreciation for the service of all the men and women in uniform.
This historic occasion of the USS Missouri (SSN-780) joining the USS Missouri (BB-63), the World War II-era battleship, at Pearl Harbor will forever go down in history. It will be a reminder that our great state of Missouri takes pride that the USS Missouri (SSN-780) was a part of the United States Navy fleet along with other ships that have borne the name of the “Show-Me State.”
I always will be grateful that I was able to take part in this historic ceremony. Missouri has so much to be proud of, and the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. To be able to represent the people of Missouri in honoring two naval warships that have served under the state of Missouri’s great name forever will be a powerful memory.