Whatever may be my feelings of personal gratitude to the Navy of the United States, I feel myself under still greater obligations to them for the honor they have done to the American name in every part of the globe.
There were gentlemen and there were seamen in the navy of Charles the Second. But the seamen were not gentlemen; and the gentlemen were not seamen.
One of the problems in the Navy is that tradition of being captain of the ship. And an awful lot of people can be retired in the Navy, get over it, get a life, and go on. But there’s a lot who can’t. And when they have to give up the ship, they got to be captain of something, every single day.
It is too maddening. I’ve got to fly off, right now, to some devilish navy yard, three hours in a seasick steamer, and after being heartily sick, I’ll have to speak three times, and then I’ll be sick coming home. Still, who would not be sick for England?
The sea was our main entertainment. When company came, we set them before it on rugs, with thermoses and sandwiches and colored umbrellas, as if the water – blue, green, gray, navy or silver as it might be – were enough to watch.
When I arrived to study at Oxford in October 1963, the bohemian style was black plastic or leather jackets for women and black leather or navy donkey jackets for men. I stuck to cavalry twills and a duffle coat, at least for a few months.
I grew up outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a little town, and went to a regular high school. I was a… very average student in that high school. Then I joined the Navy, and while I was in the Navy, I was in a motorcycle accident and woke up deaf in a hospital.
My entire history with the Navy have been trying to get the Navy to focus on families and child care and all the things that they were way behind in – housing, all of those things.
My father took me back home, back to Greenwich Village, and he thought by taking me out of the orphanage he’d be out of the World War too. But no way – they got him anyway. He went in the Navy and then I lived on the streets.
We’re going through the Olympics. We’re watching women working as teams. We’re watching men working as teams. We’re watching all working as teams. We’re proud of men and women getting medals. That’s how the Navy should be working.