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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
July 31, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Christening of the U.S.S. Texas
Northrop Grumman Newport News
Newport News, Virginia


12:00 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all. I'm so happy to be here today with the Submarine Texas behind me. It's terrific. Thank you. Thank you, Tom, very much for hosting this momentous event, and thank you all, everyone here, for your very warm welcome.

Senator Hutchison, thank you for your inspiring words, and thank you especially for your friendship. I appreciate your advice. (Laughter.)

Special thanks to Secretary England, Admiral Bowman, Vice Admiral Donald, for your leadership. And I'm very happy to have been accompanied here by Admiral Mike Miller, the Director of the White House Military Office. Thank you, Admiral Miller.

Today, we celebrate the devoted service of the men and women of the United States Navy and the skill of America's shipbuilders. I'm honored to christen the triumph that is the Texas.

This tradition is centuries old and, as Senator Hutchison learned, the practice is not to be taken lightly. When Jacqueline Kennedy was preparing to christen the Lafayette, a friend told her, don't swing like a lady; swing like you're hitting a ball.

I promised George that I would put those years of watching the Texas Rangers to good use today. (Laughter and applause.)

His advice was much simpler. He just said, Laura, whatever you do, don't miss. (Laughter.)

This christening is the last step before the Texas is commissioned for duty. I must admit I feel a lot like a nervous mother who is about to send her child off to the first day of school. I'm sure the builders and their families who have spent the last six years with this ship feel the same.

In that time, the Texas has been transformed from sheets of metal to a stealth fighter. She is built by the finest craftsmen and engineers in the world. She'll be manned by the finest sailors on the sea. And she bears a name that embodies America's ideals of liberty and strength.

Texas is my home state. It represents a spirit born of optimism, legends and heroes. And today, this spirit and these new heroes will be carried forth in this mighty ship.

My fellow Texans are immensely proud of this ship. We like anything that's bigger and better. (Laughter.) The U.S.S. Texas joins a fleet of the most advanced ships in the sea, yet we know that America's strength depends on the men and the women who man this fleet and the courage of the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America.

All Americans are grateful to the members of the United States military and to their families. You're a powerful force in an uncertain world. And all Americans appreciate those who build the ships, the planes and the tanks that make our military the mightiest in the world. Along with our troops, you play a key role in the defense of freedom, and this magnificent ship is a tribute to your skill.

Soon, the Texas will leave her cradle for the sea, and she'll take with her our aspirations of freedom and our hopes for peace. May all who board her be forever blessed and may all who encounter her upon the seas remember: Don't mess with Texas. (Applause.)

Thank you all, and God bless. (Applause.)

* * * * *

MRS. BUSH: I christen the United States Ship Texas.

May God bless all who sail on her.

END 12:05 P.M. EDT

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