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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en la cena gala a bordo del portaviones “Intrepid”

Portaviones “Intrepid”, 04.07.1992

G

​ood evening ladies and gentleman:

Tonight I feel very honoured being aboard this  historical American Aircraft Carrier, with the company of so many Admirals and high ranking officials of the U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard Service. "My very special Salute to all of you".

Although I understand that the INTREPID was decornmissioned in 1974 we are all aware of her great record in wartime since she joined the Central Pacific Forces in late 1943.

At that time, she was already a symbol of the American advanced technology and yours later she was also in the front line acting twice as Prime Recovery Ship for the Space Program.

Those were the days when the United States opened the frontier of space discovery putting the first man in the moon.

Conviction and courage motivated that challenging enterprise against the unknown Space. In the same way as 500 years ago Columbus and the Spaniards also faced the unknown Atlantic Ocean, still surrounded by the superstition and fears of the Middle Ages.

Just as the U.S. Government has to give NASA its full support to develop the Space program, my ancestors Queen lsabella and King Ferdinand al so had to give not only the patronage but also their strong financial support to build the vessels and recruit the crews to place them under the command of Columbus before starting the Westbound Sea discoveries.

This similarity of both enterprises and the conviction and faith on man that characterized those historical moments are some of the main reasons of my acceptance to be here in New York on this 4 of July commemorating together with Americans and Spaniards the 500 years of the discovery.

Indeed I am very glad I carne because I could never imagine how spectacular was to be this morning's Naval Parade, with over 200 sailing boats navigating upstream the Hudson River between Governor's Island and the Statue of the Liberty.

It made me remember last May the 3rd when accompanying my parents THE KING and QUEEN OF SPAIN in the splendid Bay of Cadiz from where we wished all the sailing boats of the Great Regatta Columbus'92 Quincentennary a good journey. At that time I thought I would never see such a sight like that in my life, but now I must admit that today's Naval Parade did match the magnificence of the departure from Cadiz, very near from where the original Caravels sailed in 1492.

I gather that the enormous amount of white sails from so many different countries transformed this morning's Parade into an overwhelming message of world peace to all of us who had the privilege of being here today.

The presence among the tall ships of the Spanish Navy's training vessel Juan Sebastian de Elcano brought to me memories of the year 1987 when I spent several months on board as a Midshipman. We cruised through out the continent on its Atlantic coast and finally called on the traditional harbour of Baltimore.

Just before this Gala, 1 had the pleasure of  paying a courtesy visit to her where I was received by the Captain Rafael Vallejo and the officers and crew members. (Also my Salute to all of them).

I was extremely happy to see this morning the 3 replicas of the caravels "Pinta", "Niña" and "Santa María" after their journey across the Atlantic Ocean which incidentally took them seven days les s than what the 3 originals spent 500 years ago to reach the American Continent. Although I think that this was due to the more favourable trade winds they found.

I must admit that while seeing them manoeuvring in front of Governor's Island with such ability and seamanship knowledge I thought at that moment, that if there was a "Caravel Class" for the coming Olympic Sailing Regatta in Barcelona, they would certainly win the gold, silver and bronze medals.

(My salute to Commander Santiago Bolibar and the crews of the three shps).

I would like to take the opportunity to express my sincere congratulations to the people of the "Comisión Nacional V Centenario", "Sociedad Estatal V Centenario" and "Spain' 92 Foundation" who have worked so hard during these last years to successfully achieve the ultimate goals of their projects.

Maybe I have taken to much of your time to share with you my impressions of this morning, when I basically wanted to convey to you two very concise but important messages:

First, to let you know that the people of Spain are joining the American people in today's Commemorations as a great friend and ally.

Second, that we should all bear in mind that in a few years we will be crossing the line of the second millennium and that we must do so with a very open mind, as the man of the Renaissance did it 500 years ago, to meet the challenges in the near horizon an overcome all the obstacles, no matter how gigantic they might be, in order to reach a better understanding among nations, a global peace and a more secure world for the generations to come.

I wish you all for your personal future life navigation, a smooth sea and a favourable breeze an a happy forth of July.

Thank you very much.

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