The Sand Pebbles (1966)
Richard Crenna: Captain Collins
Captain Collins : Pray for an early spring... or permission to open fire.
Captain Collins : [addressing the assembled crew of the USS "San Pablo"] Today we begin cruising to show the flag on Tungting Lake and the Hunan Rivers. I want all honours rendered smartly. At home in America, when today reaches them, it'll be Flag Day. For us who wear the uniform, every day is Flag Day. It is said there will be no more wars. We must pretend to believe that. But when war comes, it is we who will take the first shock, and buy time with our lives. It is we who keep the faith. We serve the flag. The trade we all follow is the give-and-take of death. It is for that purpose that the people of America maintain us. Any one of us who believes he has a job like any other, for which he draws a money wage, is a thief of the food he eats, and a trespasser in the bunk in which he lies down to sleep.
Captain Collins : [turns to his Executive Officer] Mr Bordelles, make preparations for getting underway.
Captain Collins : [Addressing the assembled crew of the USS "San Pablo" as it remains laid up at Changsha for the winter, surrounded by unfriendly locals] The "San Pablo" is now in a state of siege here, and will be all winter. The water level in the channel is already too low for us to leave before spring. There will be no liberty. No contact with the shore except a guard mail trip to the consulate once a week. Each of you will get a chance to make this trip once. They have singled out "San Pablo" for destruction, using their new weapons of boycott and propaganda. They expect in the end to haul down the flag in shame and disgrace. We will not let them do that. When the time comes, we will defend our flag with our life's blood. They will watch us every minute. They will gloat over every rust streak down our sides, every sign of military slackness. They expect to destroy us. But it will only make us stronger. That's all. Carry on.
Captain Collins : [Observing, from the bridge of the USS "San Pablo," as Mr. Jameson heads out on a Chinese junk on his way back upriver to his mission at China Light] The next incident, they could just as well turn on him and kill him.
Ensign Bordelles : Well, at least he's off our necks, sir.
Captain Collins : Our primary mission is still to defend American lives - even if they are damned fools.