Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following remarks at the Coast Guard Foundation’s Tribute to the Coast Guard in our Nation’s Capital Dinner at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
June 5, 2023
Thank you very much for giving me the honor of sharing a few thoughts with you.
You know, when I sat down last week, and reflected on what I was going to write in my prepared remarks to you, I realized that since the last time I addressed the foundation dinner – it's been two years, I've worked incredibly closely with the Coast Guard, and I really don't need to write formal remarks for you, but rather, I just prefer to share a few thoughts.
We live in a time now where our political discourse is very, very sharp and very divided.
And it is easy amidst that sharpness and that divisiveness to become worried about the future of our country, to be somewhat pessimistic, and be concerned about whether we are leaving for our children a country that is better off than when we entered it.
And for those who have that concern, for those of you who have that perhaps dose of pessimism, I have the perfect antidote.
You should have joined me in New London, Connecticut on May 17 last month at the graduation at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
As I handed a diploma to each graduate, each new officer of the United States Coast Guard, I saw an individual, who was young, bright, energetic, tested, eager, and ready, ready to serve.
It is remarkable what those young graduates, whether it's the graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or the graduates at Cape May, what they will do in the years immediately following their graduation, whether it is leading an inspection with tremendously high market stakes, whether it is on an icebreaker in the Arctic conducting very important scientific experiments for our country, whether it is on deck of a patrol cutter on the turbulent Atlantic waters interdicting and rescuing migrants at sea.
We have young people, who are ready - ready to lead others, ready to lead the United States Coast Guard, ready to lead our government and our country into a better future.
What I have learned since I addressed you last, two years ago, is that the United States Coast Guard is truly a remarkable organization.
What I learned when I became the Deputy Secretary in late 2013, is that it is more than that. It is more than a remarkable organization.
It is a family.
And I learned that in a very poignant and very tragic circumstance.
I traveled from Washington D.C. to the west to attend the memorial service for the loss of Travis Obendorf, a young Coastie, who had lost his life in the line of duty.
And what I saw was members of the United States Coast Guard, young and old, present and past, united in grief, united in a solidarity, a dedication to the future, and to the mission of the Coast Guard.
And as I see members of the Coast Guard in this room, I very well know that you are a member of the Coast Guard family, but you also have families of your own.
And many of you will have had positions across this country and around the world and your families have been there with you each and every step of the way.
And so, as we express our gratitude to members of the Coast Guard, we express our gratitude to their family members as well, who serve alongside them.
And I want to thank the foundation for supporting the Coast Guard, supporting the families, especially in the area of education, where it is so needed and so impactful.
And so, I want to say, thank you to all of you for your support of the United States Coast Guard in whatever way you have provided and Semper Paratus.