Admiral… Distinguish Guests… Family and Friends…
On behalf of the Perry Group, we are honored to be here and I am truly humbled to stand here. Thank you all for your journey today. You arrived by air, by sea and by land. We all came to this place and the message we are sending to our friends in the Naval and Coast Guard services, could not be any clearer. If I AM HERE and You Are Here, the Navy and Coast Guard have a Home here! Thank you for your service and for keeping our Great Lake safe and open for the past 200 years for all of us to enjoy.
Today we come together in our own time capsule and recreated a journey generations have read about, and millions have dreamt about. Imagine if any legendary naval figure could come alive today, set foot onboard his ship, or meet his successors in command. Today was not a quaint ceremony or pomp, but a sensible display of who we are. We traveled 200 years in time to witness where we were, where we have traveled and to celebrate all of those who have served.
As we move forward next year to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie it is our living history and the resulting peace we enjoy that is foremost in our thinking. The monument at Put-in-Bay, visitor’s center, and various museums are tangible reminders of this important past.
In 2013 the Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie will be celebrated and remembered as one of the turning points in the War of 1812. Absent victory the borders of the great State of Ohio may have changed and our western expansion could have been altered. Your presence today speaks volumes as to your respect for our nation’s history and remembering the important lessons to be shared in our future.
Ohio is home to a world class group of seaman, pioneers, and leaders. While other states claim their accomplishments, let the world take note. Apples and peaches, orange and nuts are all here on earth. Our place is there, and the first person there, came from right here. The single greatest achievement in the history of mankind was putting a man on the moon. Tonight when you leave here the path will be lit by a brilliant moon. This week we lost a great Navy man, an Ohioan who was a respected friend who pioneered a path to achievement. We are saddened by the loss of Neil Armstrong. And in an odd sort of way, tonight he lights our journey going forward. As you may all remember we chose to go to the moon not because it was easy, but because it was hard. The goal we set was to measure ourselves and the challenge was one we were willing to accept. Today we all take another step forward and move to educate our family and friends as to the importance of 1813 and the Battle of Lake Erie. The mission begins anew and we need everyone’s help. Let it never be stated we are a generation who bears no witness to our history. Let it be written when the test of time came, we kicked down the doors of complacency, proceeded with vengeance and lit the flame of remembrance brighter than ever before.
Thank you for standing with us today. We all thank the Navy and the Coast Guard for their forever presence. In September 2013 Stand With Us and help the world remember the Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie. It is our time.
Speech Given by Dave Zavagno