tv USS Indianapolis Gold Medal Ceremony CSPAN August 22, 2020 9:24pm-10:01pm EDT
surviving crew members, only 317, were not rescued for several days. next on american history tv, on this 75th anniversary of the ship's sinking, congress awarded the entire crew the congressional gold medal, its highest civilian honor. the ceremony was held online and the house of representatives provided the video. >> hello, it is my privilege to welcome you all to the celebration of courage and patriotism 75 years to the day since the u.s.s. indianapolis met its fate while sailing through the philippine sea to the end of world war ii. today, despite the unprecedented circumstances, we come together as a united states congress to bestows its- highest honor, the congressional gold medal on the crew men of the uss indianapolis.
thank you to the entire indiana delegation, indiana governor eric holcomb and secretary of the navy and brigadier general goodwin for your efforts to make this event possible. thank you as well to leader mitch mcconnell, chuck schumer and kevin mccarthy for helping to ensure that this virtual ceremony would be such a wonderful success. and thank you to honorary captain captain toby and all those joining online to recognize and pay tribute to the american heroes of the uss indianapolis. ladies and gentlemen, at this time, please stand as you are able for the presentation of the colors and the national anthem. >> march, march, march. hold.
>> let us pray. dear lord, we ask your blessing today on the survivors of the uss indianapolis, their family member, friends, and members of the legacy organization at this virtual reunion. ever since the first reunion on july 30 and 31 of 1960, which was organized by giles mccoy the 15 survivors, these men have gathered to remember and to give thanks. they know the importance of reflecting on the sacrifice of the men who were lost at sea and the lifelong hardships of the men who survived and continue to grieve for their shipmates.
they chair us -- cherish their memories. they have build bonds of friendship and mutual support. the men who sailed on the uss indianapolis were awarded 10 bravery, andfor their final mission played a vital role in ending the war. lord, we are blessed to be able to honor the survivors who are still living. continue to bless them and their families and all the friends and supporters who keep alive the memories of the brave men of the uss indianapolis. we ask all of this in your holy name. amen. >> good day, ladies and gentlemen. i'm sam cox, the director of the naval history heritage command. today we commemorate the valor
and sacrifice on the 1195 sailors who serve aboard the indianapolis when she sunk by a japanese submarine in the last days of the war on 30 july, 1945. only 316 of her crew survived the 12 minutes that it took the ship to sink, and the horrific four days adrift in the open ocean afterwards. it's also important to note that the crew of the indianapolis were heroes long before she was
>> you are heroes in every sense of the word and totally, totally deserving recipients of this congressional gold medal. fix .7 million -- 6.7 million hoosiers, thank you for your lifetime of sacrifice. >> thanks to all of you here to honor our heroes. former senator of indianapolis and i am so proud have been the sponsor of this legislation along my colleagues so that the crew, the u.s.s. indianapolis would get this long deserving congressional gold medal. our ship, the crew of u.s.s. indianapolis is the stuff of legends. it was host president roosevelt,
the recipient of 10 battlestars. yes, that's right. 10 battle stars for its service in world war ii. and it was the ship chosen for the secret mission that helped end world war ii. but the heart of the ending and the heart of this congressional gold medal are the men who served on her. they were skippered by captain mcvay and they fought to defend our country, put their lives on the line. they never gave up against incredible odds. and they showed incredible grit and determination and patriotism. those of us who are from indiana and indianapolis are incredibly proud that the crew and the ship carried the name of our capital city into battle with such amazing success and determination. the name u.s.s. indianapolis is
still today sailing the seas and serves our nation. and that crew's goal let ounce goal that is on the seas today is to try to live to the example and the determination and the legend that was set by heavy cruiser indianapolis and the crew. to our crew, thank you, from a grateful nation for your courage, for your service, for your bravery while fighting to defend the united states. this gold medal is well-deserved. and it only scratches the surface of how much we love you, care about you and are grateful for your amazing service to our country. may god bless the crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis. may god bless the state of indiana and the city of indianapolis and may god bless the united states of america.
>> the u.s.s. indianapolis named after the state capital of indiana and her crew showed courage and fortitude beyond measure and service to our nation and to the cause of freedom and liberty. commissioned in 1932, the u.s.s. indianapolis was active in the pacific theater of world war ii and saw action many of the major battles fought in the pacific. she and her crew played an important role in helping secure victory over japan. unbeknownst on the crew, the cargo contained on the ship would bring japan to surrender and save the lives of countless american soldiers. sadly, shortly after making its delivery, the u.s.s. indianapolis was hit and sunk by a japanese torpedo on july 30, 1945. about 300 men were trapped inside the ship and lost their lives when the ship went down.
900 men escaped from the ship and went into the water where hundreds died over the next four days before help arrived. of the 1,196 men who served aboard the u.s.s. indianapolis, only 316 survived the sinking. the stories relayed by the survivors tell a tale of fear and desperation but also of heroism and brotherhood. i'm honored to be a part of the ceremony for the u.s.s. indianapolis and recognizing the sacrifice they made to ensure our freedom. >> hello, hello, hello. i am extremely pleased to take part in today's ceremony honoring the veterans of the u.s.s. indianapolis and their families. also i want to thank our congressional leaders. governor holcomb, the secretary and general goodwin and everyone who has helped make this ceremony so special.
75 years after the tragic sinking of the u.s.s. indianapolis, the values displayed by the brave americans on board continue to guide us. in these very tough times, they are more important than ever. we are eternally grateful to the people on this ship and we can never fully read k -- repay the debt we owe them. they endured unspeakable hardship and tragedy, all in the name of service to our country and in the defense of freedom. we honor the hundreds who died as well as their loved ones who still grieve to stay. and we thank the survivors, particularly those who are still with us, who have spent their lives making sure we never forgot the heroism, displayed that day. it is my hope that this congressional gold medal helps future generations of americans also remember the sacrifices of the greatest generation. in the meantime, we still have more work ahead of us to properly honor them by ensuring their freedoms they fought for
are protected. so let's come together as americans to continue this important journey toward justice for all. thank you. >> hello. i'm senator todd young. as a marine, i want to extend my sincerest gratitude the crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis, surviving one of the most harrowing attacks in naval history, which you experienced in the pacific waters in 1945 must never be forgotten. you and your shipmates were on a mission to save the world. and you helped put an end to the unspeakable evil of world war ii. in honor of your bravery, i worked with former senator joe donnelly to pass legislation granting the congressional gold medal to the crew aboard the u.s.s. indianapolis. this is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the united states congress.
and today, it's an honor to finally be able to help present this medal in honor of your service and sacrifice to our great nation. on behalf of hoosiers and all americans, i say thank you. your bravery and courage continues to inspire. and i wish you all fair winds and following seas. god bless. ♪ ♪
in july of 1945 after delivering of the ingredients atomic bomb, the 1,200 sailors of the indianapolis embark on the 1,300-mile voyage without ex -- without an escort. july 30, the indianapolis was sunk by a japanese submarine and in 12 minutes, 300 sailors went down with the ship. the remaining 900 was strand at sea for four days without water or food, suffering from dehydration, exposure, salt water poisoning and shark attacks before the navy found them. by the time the rescue came, only 316 of the 1,200 have survived. it was the single greatest loss of life from one ship in u.s. naval history and one of the most tragic maritime disasters in world history. so today we present the congressional gold medal to the eight surviving crew members of
the indianapolis, but it's a tribute intended for all 1,200 sailors. the final tragic hours of the indianapolis in no way diminish the sacrifice made by those 900 men and boys 75 years ago half a world away. and we say thank you. a grateful nation pledges to never forget what happened to the u.s.s. indianapolis and to always remember the american patriots lost in that terrible attack. i wish we could observe this moment together in person to say thank you and remember our fallen sailors in person but wherever you all may be, i offer you the sailors and family members of all the crew members my greatest measure of thanks. may you all be safe and healthy and god bless you and all your loved ones. >> those present at the commissioning of the u.s.s. indianapolis in november, 1932 knew they were looking at a mighty ship, but they had no idea it would incur a war-ending super weapon across the pacific.
a decade later, the men lining up at recruiting stations knew the navy would take courage and perseverance, but even they could not have imagined how that would unfold on july 30, 1945. throughout the second world war, america's sons made many names into permanent synonyms for bravery. but the crew of the indianapolis remain in a certain class of their own. already, their ship had served as admiral's flagship and earned 10 battle stars in hard-fought engagements all across the pacific theater. already, her crew had secretly put gears in motion to end the war. but their fight didn't end with the worst of the enemy. they also had to face the worst of mother nature. in an instant, her crew went from fight the battles without
to fighting the battles within. it fought to stay alert, to look after each other, literally, to hold on for dear life. our nation lost hundreds of heroes in those harrowing days. just last month, we lost one more, tony king. those who perished water gave our nation the ultimate sacrifice. those who survived share their wisdom and example with us for decades more. but the true legacy of the indianapolis was secure before those torpedos struck. her crew turned the tide of the war. so to her crew men who are still keeping watch who joined us today, your congress and your nation say thank you.
>> 75 years ago in the final months of world war ii, the crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis departed san francisco's 100th point naval shipyard on a top secret mission. their record-setting voyage changed the course of history and enabled the united states to finally bring an end to years of brutal conflict. for their indispensable contributions to the stands for -- to the advancement of freedom and democracy, the u.s.s. indianapolis's 1195 crew men are worthy of our greatest esteem. it is important to acknowledge that further tragedy that followed the sinking of the u.s.s. indianapolis in the early morning hours of july 30, 1945. that five night and four-day ordeal stole the lives of 879 brave sailors and cemented the u.s.s. indianapolis and its crew forever in the hearts of the american people.
316 men returned home and dedicated their lives to ensuring that the memory of their fallen comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice would continue to be honored. sadly last month, we lost a cherished member of the u.s.s. indianapolis veterans community and the constituent of mine from san francisco, tony king. we all mourn this sad time. we wish you were with us to see this historic day. today, just eight u.s.s. indianapolis veterans remain but their commitment to telling their extraordinary story continues to motivate countless americans to answer the call of service and to continue fighting to preserve the blessings and -- blessings of liberty and freedom. bestowing on them the congressional gold medal enables them to now take their rightful place in the pantheon of american heroes whose
exceptional valor and service have immeasurably strengthened our nation. in accepting the award, the men of the uss indianapolis brings luster to it as their service brings luster to the united states of america. on behalf of the united states congress and a grasteful nation, i am pleased to present this to thesional gold medal crew of the u.s.s. indianapolis in recognition of the ir perseverance, bravery and service. now this gold medal will be proudly displayed at the indiana war museum where it will continue to educate and inspire generations of patriotic americans. thank you. ♪
♪ capt. toti: 75 years ago, the indianapolis plunged into the ocean,of the pacific where it had been struck by japanese torpedoes. what we memorialized here today is the accomplishments of the crew. not the fact that they were sunk. the survivors struggled for almost five days in the water just to survive.
then for the next five decades, they continued to fight. they did not fight for recognition for themselves. they did not fight for restitution from the navy for the awful fact that they were in the water. they fought to clear the captain's name. today, the members of the indianapolis speak on their behalf. they told me in 1998 when i was simmering, --of a submarine, and i was proud to join them in their fight for their captain. over the years, i have come to know and admire nearly 200 of the survivors. today, speaking for only eight
survivors who remain. they fought for over 55 years to get the navy to do the right thing for their captain. in the end, it was an act of congress that exonerated him. in 2001, i was proud to enter the exoneration language. that year, i was equally proud to help present accommodation -- a commendation to the crew of the indianapolis. it took over 55 years for the navy to officially acknowledge the ship's accomplishment. but it got done. today, congress again makes things right by honoring crew that have done so much for this country.
this congressional gold medal does not recognize only the survivors. it recognizes all of the crewmembers, both survivors and those lost at sea. it recognizes a fighting ship's crew. nd the mostlped e terrible war this world has known. it recognizes among the best of -- the best the united states navy has to offer. this comes completely unexpected. for the rest of us, we know that it comes completely deserved. not one crew member of the indianapolis, not one, would ever describe themselves as a hero. but they would all say they served in a crew of heroes.
on behalf of the entire crew of the uss indianapolis, the survivors lost at sea, family members, i would like to thank congress of the united states for this honor. i know how grateful they are and would like to convey that gratitude on their behalf. thank you, and god bless. >> hello. my name is stuart goodwin. brigadier general retired and executive director of the indiana him -- indiana war memorial commission. we manage 25 acres of properties in downtown indianapolis that honor military servicemembers with emphasis on hoosier veterans, and included in these properties is the location of the congressional gold medal. the story behind the presentation of this national award is one of this country 's most historic military missions but the crew and family of this combat world war ii u.s. naval vessel have never received
the recognition they deserve. that is why this presentation represents the gratitude from our nation to all those who were touched by this amazing story. the sinking of the heavy cruiser uss indianapolis inflicted numerous actions that included instant death, life-threatening burns, broken bones, emotional distress, and the carew enduring four and a half days of strong seas and shark attacks with no food and water. many survivors said it was their faith in god that pulled them through this horrific ordeal. we think most of us would agree that there are no words to adequately express to those who survived, were lost at sea, and their families the respect and heartfelt gratitude for what they endured so we can live free. however, there is something we can do and we're doing it with this presentation. we can take every opportunity available to tell the story, thank all those involved, and pray for their souls. this national recognition presented to them will provide countless opportunities to educate future generations about these warriors.
we want to take this opportunity to thank speaker pelosi and the u.s. house of representatives, the indiana house delegation and the u.s. mint for making this war possible. additionally, we would like to thank the uss indianapolis survivors organization for their decades of support to the crew and their families and the recently organized indianapolis legacy organization, whose mission is to promote and perpetuate all those who served at the uss indianapolis. also thanks to the indianapolis war memorial staff, who research and maintain the uss indianapolis museum. we also want to invite you have to visit the museum to view this distinguished gold medal in the exhibit where approximately 100,000 visitors will observe it annually. we hope to see you soon. thank you. >> you are watching american history tv all weekend, every , victory overo
japan day, august 15, 1945, marked the end of world war ii. our weekly "reel america" series, road to democracy documents the first three years of reforming and rebuilding japanese society. here is the 1945 orientation film for occupying forces that takes a harsh look at the -- and explores how civilized people could watch war and murder millions of civilians. finally a short film talking shouldrice controls continue for returning veterans amid a housing shortage. ♪