Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“Set the Watch!”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on June 10, 2017

On Saturday I had the unexpected and welcome opportunity to attend the commissioning ceremony for USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), the newest littoral combat ship in the U.S. Navy. Although I’ve been reading and occasionally writing about maritime subjects for a long time, this was the first opportunity I’ve had to attend a launching or commissioning in person.

The ceremony went pretty much as scheduled (as I understand these events have a very standard pattern to them), and everyone said the right things. Importantly, everyone kept their remarks brief. As the ship’s CO, Commander Keith Woodley, said in his remarks, “you have to stop talking before they stop listening.” (It was hot, y’all.)

Naming a ship after Gabby Giffords is naturally controversial in the fever swamps of the Internet. However, partisan politics did not intrude today, as they should not. I had not paid much attention to this event before hand, and did not know who the guests would be if, indeed, they were announced ahead of time. But those present included former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Joe and Doctor Jill Biden, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There were lots of other officials present, with polite applause for everyone involved, but those folks along with Giffords’ husband, Captain Mark Kelly, and local developer (and native Galvestonian) Tilman Fertitta were the ones who got the cheers and few standing ovations today. It was interesting, to say the least.

Thanks to my friends from the Hawkins Squadron, Chester Barnes and Paula Morris, for making this possible for me today. I’m sorry my pictures don’t do the event justice, but it was a great experience that just a few hours ago I did not know was even in the offing. More pictures after the jump:

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3 Responses

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  1. M.D. Blough said, on June 10, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Was Gabby Giffords herself there? I admire her and her husband so much for taking such a traumatic event and instead of retreating into seclusion (which I don’t think anyone would have begrudged them) have worked so hard to make good come from it. She also has to be an inspiration to people who have suffered devastating brain injuries, precisely because she hasn’t had a perfect recovery. What she’s shown is that even without the perfect recovery, one can still lead a good, active life.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 10, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      Yes. She spoke only briefly; Mark carried forward her presentation. Sorry I didn’t mention clearly that she was there.

      EVERYBODY was there.

      • M.D. Blough said, on June 11, 2017 at 12:33 am

        Thanks. They’re a remarkable couple who really show what taking the vow about for better or for worse, in sickness and in health seriously means and they seem really happy.


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