Over one-hundred and fifty years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished involuntary slavery and servitude in America; slavery is still a very sensitive subject, especially for “African” Americans. Much of this apprehension has its origins in an historical view that Africans and their descendants are somehow less civilized, less intelligent or preposterously less “evolved” from assumed animal ancestors than their white counterparts. Yet, instead of looks of derision or treatment as second class citizens, all Americans owe the men and women who were enslaved in America and their descendants a debt of gratitude equal to the gratitude bestowed upon patriots who fought to secede from England in America’s war for independence.
The following is a copy of a speech CDR Shipley gave at a Navy Ball in 2010 to an audience of mostly US Navy midshipmen and enlisted personnel:
…After being invited to speak on valor, I first thought about how to define it. As I do for most significant words, I referred to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, which defines it as:
“Strength of mind in regard to danger; that quality which enables a man to encounter danger with firmness; personal bravery; courage; intrepidity; prowess.”