Written by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft .
Today, we celebrate our independence and acknowledge the foresight of our Founding Fathers to create these United States. For more than 241 years, our country has been a beacon of freedom and liberty for all who seek it. As your Commandant, I am grateful to lead our organization; one that serves as both a protector and guarantor of those ideals for nearly 227 years.
Since Alexander Hamilton founded our Service in 1790, we fought in every major war and combat operation to ensure the security and prosperity of this great Nation. From the Quasi-War with France to Operation Iraqi Freedom, our men and women carried high this torch of ideals – through conflict, war and howling gale – to ensure it is never extinguished.
You continue to serve the people of the United States and protect our way of life. From the waters of the Pacific to the Persian Gulf, you are keepers of freedom and liberty, nobly carrying the torch. In Central and South America, you assist our allies in the fight against transnational criminal networks. North in the Arctic, you ensure the once ice-bound waterways are safe to those who transit. In the cyber domain, you actively detect, deter and disrupt attempts to slow our $4.6 trillion maritime transportation system. Through it all, you mentor and grow the next generation of Coast Guard men and women; passing the mantle of leadership to those willing to answer the call of Service to Nation.
Tonight, as we celebrate those “rockets’ red glare,” let us remember all who carried the torch of freedom and liberty in defense of this Nation. It is because of you —the long blue line of patriots and defenders — that we are able to celebrate our independence and reaffirm our way of life as the world’s greatest Coast Guard.