As you gather to honor the sacrifice of 34 American heroes killed in action while serving on the USS Liberty as the ship was engaged in battle against an enemy of the United States we cannot help but be drawn to how the US government has chosen to cover up the facts of the attack and of how inimical that cover-up is to everything America stands for.
Attacked by unmarked aircraft, with their radios jammed on both US Navy tactical and international maritime distress frequencies and their life rafts deliberately machine gunned in the water, they were ordered to be abandoned by two flights of Sixth Fleet rescue aircraft while the ship was still under attack and calling for help.
These facts either never made it into any US government documents or if they did (as did Lloyd Painter's testimony about his witnessing the deliberate machine gunning of American life rafts in the water when he appeared before the US Navy Court of Inquiry) that information was quickly removed.
Until these facts are acknowledged and completely investigated by the US government any attempt to honor those who were killed in service to the United States on the USS Liberty is incomplete and totally inadequate.
I acknowledge that my statement honoring those who were killed on the USS Liberty falls far short of what our country owes to these heroes, their families and the survivors of the attack on the USS Liberty. It is for that reason that I strongly support the effort of the survivors of the USS Liberty as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars who call on Congress to conduct an investigation of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.
My attempt to honor the 34 killed in action on the USS Liberty will not be complete until I am successful in persuading my colleagues in the United States Congress to conduct a complete investigation not only of the attack on the USS Liberty but also the cover-up of that attack that is continuing to this day.