The U.S. Navy has a proud tradition of naming warships after great figures in American history. Presidents, Patriots and the Founding Fathers have all been honored in such a manner. The sailors who man these, the first line of defense, are proud of not only their ship but their namesake as well. One needs to wonder is that will hold true for those called to serve on one of the latest to join the fleet.
The Navy’s newest combat ship was commissioned on Saturday and has been named after former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. As I am sure you remember, Ms. Giffords was the victim of a 2011 shooting at a meet and greet outside a grocery store in Tulsa. Although she suffered from a life-threatening head wound Ms. Gifford recovered but still suffers from partial paralyzation and speech difficulties.
As tragic as the shooting was I have to question whether it rises to the level of sacrifice normally experienced by those so honored. Most have either died in service of their nation or dedicated their lives to public service at the highest levels.
A native of Arizona Ms. Giffords was a business professional prior to joining the Arizona House of Representatives in 2001 and Arizona State Senate in 2003. In 2005, she was elected to her first of three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, resigning in 2012 due to complications from her injuries. She is married to husband Mark Kelly, a former U.S. Navy aviator, and astronaut.
The Navy explained the naming was due to the “perseverance she showed after the shooting.” I would offer that it was a bit more political than that. Consider for a moment the other dignitaries in attendance for the commissioning ceremony: Guest Speaker Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State for the Obama Administration; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, who was also the ship’s sponsor.
Clearly, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of more deserving names which could have been considered. Any one of the thousands who have suffered and died in the recent wars of Iraq and Afghanistan come to mind. If the Navy ( or last administration) were determined to honor a politician they could have at least selected someone who had accomplished nation changing feats during their tenure- Ms. Giffords most notable accomplishments were the support of immigration reform, opposition to big oil and advocating for a national day of recognition for cowboys.
I also cannot help but note the irony of Ms. Giffords’ name gracing the stern of a mighty warship when a great deal of her efforts as an elected official, and since her shooting, have been devoted to denying Americans the rights granted under the Second Amendment. As a U.S. Representative, she signed an amicus brief supporting the overturning of cases protecting such rights in the District of Columbia. Since leaving office she and her husband have been strong advocates for gun control. While this is understandable given her personal experience it does not raise her status as a patriot or make her worthy of having a warship commissioned in her name.
My hope if far winds and following seas for those who serve aboard the U.S.S. Gabriel Gifford and that they can find pride in their ship even if not in the namesake.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.