THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON NAMES AIRCRAFT CARRIERS AFTER REAGAN AND TRUMAN
Today I approved Secretary of the Navy John Dalton's recommendation to name CVN-75 and CVN-76, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers currently authorized for construction, the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN and USS RONALD REAGAN, respectively. Protecting our nation's security -- our people, our territory and our way of life -- is a President's foremost constitutional duty. It is therefore most appropriate to name two great warships after two former Presidents who exemplified the ideals of patriotism, camaraderie, and courage found in the servicemen and women they led as they discharged their highest duty.
Our military today is the best-equipped, best- trained and best-prepared fighting force in the world. These two aircraft carriers represent my pledge to ensure our security is underpinned with military forces that are ready to fight. But our nation can only address this era's dangers and opportunities if we remain actively engaged in the world. The two Presidents we honor today knew that there is no security for America in isolationism, no prosperity in protectionism. They worked with a Congress led by the other party in order to foster the broad, bipartisan understanding and support necessary to sustain U.S. international engagement.
As President Truman said, "We face a clear-cut choice between two courses of action. We can either isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, or we can take constructive steps to build lasting world peace." And that is exactly the same challenge we take up today. It is therefore most appropriate to name CVN-75 in honor of the President who courageously led us out of the Second World War and prepared us to win the peace through international engagement. It was the courage and wisdom of President Truman's decisions which provided the foundation for forty years of peace and stability throughout the Cold War.
I also find it most fitting to name CVN-76 in honor of President Ronald Reagan, an American leader unsurpassed in his boundless patriotism and love for the Armed Forces, and someone who still inspires us with his courage and grace. As I said in my State of the Union address, Ronald Reagan exhorted us to carry on until the twilight struggle against Communism was won.
It is because of their enduring contributions in protecting our nation's security that we honor these two Presidents of different parties and different times. These two aircraft carriers will bear their names overseas as an instrument of power behind our determined diplomacy. Once again, the names Truman and Reagan will lend themselves in pursuit of our national security in an effort to secure the peace they won during the Cold War. Together, they will join the finest forces this nation has ever known.