Fellow Alaskans, distinguished guests, flag and general officers, Mrs. Annette Conway: I am honored to be with you at this historic gathering.
First Lady Sandy and I warmly welcome each of you here to Alaska. All of Alaska is proud to have this ship named in honor of our largest city. We thank you for docking in Anchorage to commission her, and to "bring her to life."
On behalf of the 49th State, I also want to thank Shannon Jones, Lindsey Whitt, and the commissioning committee that I know has worked for a year and a half to make this so memorable.
George Washington wrote in 1781, "It follows then as certain as the night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."
And so it is with the U.S.S. Anchorage. Now, more than 230 years later, for a nation that stretches from sea to shining sea, that case for a decisive naval force is even more compelling.
Our Arctic waters are opening for passage over the top of our state, and threats abound across our globe, requiring the protection of our great country and our sovereign people.
In our state we strongly support a powerful, modern Navy -- our global force for good.
As you embark on your journey with this great and gleaming ship, you will take your leave of a state that lifts you, that honors you and all of our military families.
For those of you who have fallen in love with this state and this beautiful weather this morning -- or perhaps in the days prior - you've seen those mountains, you've seen those vast lands. I want to tell you that Alaska is home to the largest veterans' community in the nation, on a per capita basis.
And that's because we honor our military members and their service.
I hope you will consider returning, not just to spend a little time, but to retire here, a place where so many veterans have happily settled, a place where freedom reigns.
Until then, we know the U.S.S. Anchorage and her crew will represent our nation proudly. Thank you for serving us and our nation with honor and distinction.
Captain John Paul Jones, who served in the Continental Navy of the American Revolution, once wrote, "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way."
The U.S.S. Anchorage can indeed sail fast, and I am told that this San Antonio Class ship is the most survivable amphibious vessel ever put to sea, with extraordinary self-defense capabilities.
And while you will be called into harm's way, you will always have our prayers for protection and you will always have the deepest abiding gratitude of Alaskans.
Thank you, and may God bless you.