I believed at the time that the banner referred to the AL’s mission. I work with a lot of current and former Navy personnel, and that’s pretty much how it was interpreted by nearly all of us.
A serviceman’s mission is never truly over, mind you, eapecially with troops still on the ground in country. The Lincoln was completing a long deployment, though, and deserved thanks for its contribution.
I think the Administration should have stated this and left it as such. It’s stupid to backtrack now, it merely hands ammo to a lot of Democrats who, frankly, don’t have productive suggestions vis a vis national security anyway. When any one of them besides Lieberman can come up with a plan that actually goes after our country’s enemies, maybe I’ll listen to complaints about a banner.