Naval Secretary John D. Long spoke thes words:

The naval heroes of today who are the nation’s pride are one with these naval heroes whose martyred bones you so sa­credly and tenderly preserve and to whom you now do these deserved honors. We in this generation have seen men who died that their country might live. We honor today the men who died to give their country birth, and with it the birthright of freedom.

Death for country in one position is as patriotic, though it may not be so glorious, as death in another. These patriot mar­tyrs who would not purchase life even at the cost of treason, who endured unutter­able suffering’s rather than betray their country’s cause; and who, thousands in number, perished in those horrible prison ships, deserve that you make their memory eternal and that you write their story on a monument that shall tell it to this and succeeding generations.