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The U.S.S. Indianapolis leaves the Port of Indiana

Longshoreman Kedric Thomas takes a photo of the USS Indianapolis Monday. Thomas will release the lines when the ship is ready to depart.

It's a floating monument to American heroism and sacrifice, emblazoned with the name of the capital city of our great state.

Hoosiers should all take pride in the newly commissioned USS Indianapolis, christened into service this past weekend.

Northwest Indiana, in particular, should take a bow for hosting the commissioning of this ship before her maiden voyage into service.

Thousands gathered for the commissioning ceremony of this breathtaking vessel in Portage's Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor Saturday. Tens of thousands more clicked on and read the articles or viewed The Times-produced videos about the USS Indianapolis commissioning.

We all should take a moment and allow the lumps to swell in our throats and the tears to form in our eyes as we comprehend the floating monument this newest of U.S. Navy cruisers truly is.

During World War II, a Navy ship carrying the same name sank after Japanese torpedoes ripped through her side.

Sailors who survived the initial explosion floated at sea for days without food or drinkable water.

Sharks dragged some surviving sailors into the depths.

Of about 1,200 sailors aboard, only about 300 survived the ordeal.

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The newest iteration of the USS Indianapolis now strikes out to defend our nation and its many lasting virtues. It was slated to sail from port late Monday or Tuesday.

The 3,900-ton ship is the fourth in the Navy fleet to bear the same name.

The mission of the ship and her 70-member crew will be patrolling for and destroying mines placed near coastlines — neutralizing clear and present threats to other ships and human lives, both military and civilian.

In short, her noble mission is to make us all safer.

We all should be proud that Northwest Indiana played such a role in her inauguration into service.

Godspeed to the brave men and women aboard.

The name USS Indianapolis will always stir emotions of anyone familiar with our nation's history.

The newest crew carries forth a tradition of service unsurpassed by any U.S. Navy vessel in that branch of service's history.

This latest ship will no doubt make us all proud to be Hoosiers — and most importantly, Americans.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Regional News Editor Sharon Ross, Assistant Deputy Editor Andrew Steele.