To sink the foe or save the maimed,
Our mission and our pride,
We’ll carry on ’til Kingdom Come,
Ideals for which we’ve died.
Thus went the original anthem of the U.S. Coast Guard, established AUGUST 4, 1790.
Four years later the Coast Guard was charged with stopping slave-traders from bringing new slaves from Africa.
The Coast Guard freed nearly 500 slaves.
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President John F. Kennedy remarked aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Training Barque “Eagle,” August 15, 1962:
This is a very ancient service in our country’s history.
Its first father…Alexander Hamilton, began the Coast Guard as a revenue collecting service, asked the Congress of the United States for appropriations for 10 vessels…
The first Eagle was one of our most distinguished warships, and in actions against privateers of France, captured over five vessels, and recaptured seven American vessels…
This is the oldest continuous seagoing service in the United States, stretching back to the beginning of our country.
President Herbert Hoover suggested December 27, 1929:
A further proposal…is the definite expansion of the Coast Guard…in the matter of border patrol.
Included in the list of casualties at the WWII Battle of Okinawa, President Truman stated, June 1, 1945:
Navy and Coast Guard losses were 4,729 killed and 4,640 wounded.
At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, September 20, 1952, Truman stated:
I was just reading…about the Coast Guard’s icebreaker that has been closer to the North Pole than any other ship in delivering food and supplies to a station up there…
That, my young friends, is what makes this country great.
President Kennedy continued on August 15, 1962:
You serve our country in peacetime, on ice patrols and weather patrols, in protecting the standards of the merchant marine, in protecting safety at sea…and in time of war you, with the American Navy, as you did in World War II and at the time of Korea.
At the U.S. Coast Guard commencement in New London, June 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson remarked:
Winston Churchill once said: ‘Civilization will not last, freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless mankind unites together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a power before which barbaric forces will stand in awe’…
In every area of national strength America today is stronger than it has ever been before…
It is stronger than the combined might of all the nations in the history of the world. And I confidently predict that strength will continue to grow…
President Johnson continued:
No one can live daily, as I must do, with the dark realities of nuclear ruin, without seeking the guidance of God to find the path of peace.
We have built this staggering strength not to destroy but to save, not to put an end to civilization but rather to try to put an end to conflict.
At a U.S. Coast Guard commencement, May 18, 1988, President Reagan stated:
It’s our prayer to serve America in peace. It’s our commitment to defend her in war.
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