Some may say that my views of officers and Commanders are outdated. I assure you-- while ships and weapons and circumstances may change, the concepts of honor and virtue are timeless. What was important and valued three hundred years before my service was valued when I was in uniform, is valued now, and will be valued three hundred years after your day.
I said before: virtue and honor requires two things. The understanding of what virtue and honor is, and the moral conviction to be virtuous. Of the two, the latter is most important, because with that conviction, you can attain understanding. But understanding without conviction is worthless.
That conviction is not in-borne; it is acquired. If you do not feel it, it can be grown within. How? By absorbing into your heart and soul the messages from the past. By talking to those who have served before you, and who embodied honor and virtue. And by reading. I assure you: if you read books, you will know. Read, and through those words, listen to the lives of Navy leaders like Preble, Decatur, Farragut, Dewey, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, O’Kane, Peary, Rickover, Stockdale, and Michael Murphy. Those lives, those stories, will paint for you the picture of Navy honor and virtue. If you don’t feel it after reading those stories, you never will.
You are an American naval officer. You have a terrible responsibility and a wonderful opportunity. We need you to be up to the task, in all respects. You must be above reproach. You must fulfill your duties. You must carry on the torch that I once held, and now pass to you. Our job never ends.
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value."