Friday, October 14, 2011

Up to Richmond for the Navy's Birthday

Yesterday I had the incredible privilege to be guest speaker at the Richmond Council Navy League's annual Navy Birthday Luncheon.  Hosted at Willow Oaks Country Club in Richmond, the festivities included a number of Sailors from USS Carter Hall LSD-50, USS Normandy CG-60 and Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Richmond.  I felt truly fortunate to be able to address such distinguished company.

Of course, I was quite nervous - this was my first major speaking engagement.  True, I've been in board rooms and conferences pushing the Hornet Project, and I've even written a few published book reviews, but this was my first 'general audience' presentation.  Of course, my slides failed to load, the projector had an issue - everything on my end that could go wrong did.  But the leadership of the Richmond Council were so incredibly gracious and welcoming that it more than made up for my technical issues.

The presentation initially focused on the early Navy and its first iteration during the Revolutionary War - but pointed out that it was only a temporary measure; the ships were sold off or destroyed after the war and the Sailors disbanded.  Later, the permanent Navy built to fight Barbary pirates was severely cut back, largely in response to criticism that it was cheaper to buy off the pirates than to fight them.  The first realization of the peace and wartime benefits of a permanent naval force were brought out during the War of 1812, a bitter struggle fought in the midst of a tremendous recession with high unemployment, sharp political divides - much the same conditions we face today.  That led to a quick discussion about Hornet, and the need to connect to the heritage - not just the history - of the Navy.

I'll publish more a bit later, but for now, back to the grind.  But thanks again, Richmond Council, for the tremendous honor, a great event, and even better company!


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