Statement by the Vice President to Honor Crew of USS Cole (10/18/00)

                          Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release                                   Contact: James E.
Wednesday, October 18, 2000                                          (202)

                        STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT

     On February 19, 1945, a young Marine sergeant led his machine gun unit onto
the shores of Iwo Jima, where they came under heavy fire from enemy
emplacements.  The sergeant destroyed them with hand grenades, and he led his
unit further ashore, only to be pinned down again by yet another hail of

     Armed only with a pistol, a hand grenade, and a powerful sense of duty and
love of country, the courageous sergeant charged forward, battling an awesome
onslaught of weaponry, returning only to rearm.  Finally, he succeeded in
breaking the back of the enemy positions and he rejoined his men  so they could,
together, press on toward their objective.

     His men did just that, and they succeeded.  But their leader was not with
them.  Because the instant he came back to the unit, a single enemy grenade came
in...and he was gone.

     This heroic Marine sergeant, who began his career as a bugler and sought to
serve in combat, was named Darrell Samuel Cole.

     The USS Cole was named in his honor.  Today we honor the sacrifice of young
men and women who share with Sergeant Cole the same powerful sense of duty and
love of country, and who join with Sergeant Cole in giving their all, and for
some, their lives, so that our nation might be free.

     We could find despair in the face of the evil that robbed them of their
future.  But we must not give hateful souls that satisfaction.  We must,
instead, renew our determination to press on, to continue the fight against
aggression, just as Sergeant Cole,s men did on Iwo Jima 55 years ago.

     We must press on with our mission in the Persian Gulf, where the USS Cole
was headed when this tragedy occurred.   We must press on to find all those
responsible for this awful act of terror and render justice, swift and sure.

     We also join as one to comfort all the sailors of the USS Cole and the
family and friends of all who lost their lives, who are missing and who are
wounded.  We pray to God that their pain may be eased.  And we hope that they
may take comfort in the knowledge that the personal sacrifice we memorialize on
this day forms a bulwark for freedom and democracy that no evil hands can ever
tear asunder.

                                     # # #

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