Well we still can't discuss what's afoot here at NHS, you'll have to wait until we announce it, or we die trying to get it accomplished. Needless to say, I don't think you'll have too much longer to wait. But in the meantime, let's start something semi-useful and productive and maybe a little bit wry - let's talk about the upcoming 1812 Bicentennial.
I've been attending a meeting here and again about this, and I'm impressed by a Secretary of the Navy mandate to "make the Navy's history come alive" in response to a direction from the Secretary of Defense to "Utilize the forthcoming War of 1812 Bicentennial as a lever to jump start interest in naval history and heritage, …". That was an excellent start, if I say so myself.
But here's the rub - I've been in some of these planning meetings and I think I can safely say we are getting away from the fundamental missions a little. I think the CNO has some excellent plans, but I'm starting to become a little disappointed in the attempts farther down the trough. Don't get me wrong, I love beer tasting, but maybe that ought to be a sideshow peripheral activity at something more earnest?
One thing I want to specifically avoid during this season of commemoration is the Pearl Harbor effect. The Brits have been one of our most solid partners for more than a century now and I think it's important to remember the war, but more so the peace we achieved at its end and the long standing partnership astride the Atlantic. We've already been chatting with our sister organization across the pond - the Historical Maritime Society - to figure out how to work that spirit into what we do over the next several years.
In all the strides we are making now, I cannot but help to channel a bit of ol' TR. I served onboard the aircraft carrier named for him, and got a healthy dose of TR-cure-all on a daily basis. I have to say I think myself the better for it. Around that time the CO had a great TR quote he'd attach to the end of each email he sent his officers -
"The things that will destroy America are peace at any price, prosperity at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life."
I couldn't agree more - that's BULLY!
But right now as we work on this monstrous project of ours in the dark behind the scenes, I've been repeating this quote over and over again, to myself:
"It's not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out that the strong man stumbles, or that the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, for there is no effort without error and shortcoming. But he who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in the worthy cause- who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be among those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Pardon the quote if something's off - yes I typed that from memory. That's more a testament to the great man than it is my memory, believe me.
Our team will keep on with the heavy lifting - and I'll be back to pass on good news as it materializes or possibly break the silence up a bit more. In the meantime - get back to work!