Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
USS Camden Homecoming
May 5, 2003

Good morning. Isn’t this a beautiful morning?

I am honored to be here. I am honored to help welcome our brave and dedicated sailors home after such a long and successful deployment. And I am honored to join you—the brave and dedicated families of the men and women aboard the USS Camden.

On behalf of the people of the State of Washington, thank you. To the families and friends of the crew, thank you for your unwavering support of the sailors returning home today. Thank you for the sacrifices you make every day to support our military personnel and our country. Thank you for enduring ten long months apart from your loved ones, and for letting us share in this joyous homecoming today.

Behind the men and women who serve stand spouses, children, parents, siblings, relatives, sweethearts and friends. Your love, strength and encouragement sustain them through the long days and nights, far away from home. Thoughts of you keep them going when the going gets tough. Your photographs make them smile when smiles are scarce. You give them hope, faith and purpose, and for that we are all grateful.

In just a short while, we will welcome the “Powerful Pachyderm of the Pacific” back to beautiful, boisterous Bremerton. I understand that there are even 21 new little Washingtonians among us who will see their Dads for the first time today! That’s what I call a homecoming present!

For nearly ten months, you have held the men and women of the USS Camden close in your hearts. And I know that when they arrive today, they will feel that love—and they will realize that they were never really that far from home after all.

God Bless You. God Bless the crew of the USS Camden. And God Bless America!

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