The two daughters of former-president Lyndon B. Johnson went to Bath on a gray and drizzly Saturday morning to christen the Navy Destroyer that bears their father’s name.
Lynda Bird Johnson Robb thanked the crowd gathered at Bath Iron Works on behalf of her father and quoted John Quincy Adams, calling America a ‘well-wisher of freedom for all.’
“We christen this ship in that spirit, not seeking to destroy, conquer, or dominated other nations, but rather to defend our own safety and the safety of other nations,” said Robb. “This ship goes to its mission not as part of an American vessel, not just as a part of our nation's self defense, it goes out as a vessel prepared to support and represent the strength, the purpose and the vitality of alliances, such as NATO. It goes out in support of important ideas, the idea of a community of free nations. Our defense pacts and alliances may come under threat from within and from without, but those alliances are vital in today’s dangerous and unruly world.”
Lucy Baines Johnson and other family members were also on hand, as were a number of U.S. Navy officials and all four members of Maine’s congressional delegation, including Sen. Susan Collins.
“My goal has always been to keep America the leader in ship-building, not only because Bath creates manufacturing jobs right here in the great state of Maine, but also because this robust shipyard is a vital national security asset,” Collins told the crowd.
The 610-foot warship is one of three of the largest Destroyers built for the U.S. Navy, and has been hailed as the most advanced Destroyer ever built.
Construction began in 2012, and the Destroyer was launched this past December, meaning the vessel was moved to a dry dock, where final work on the ship continued.
Environmental and peace activists protested outside the shipyard and blocked traffic on the road. The Portland Press Herald reports that police arrested 25 protesters before the ceremony on charges of obstructing a public way. The protesters are ordered to appear in court on June 18 in West Bath, according to a post by the group PeaceWorks.