It was a true privilege to participate in your retirement ceremony. 32 years in the Navy, serving on land and sea and in foreign countries as delightful as Italy and as dangerous as Iraq, you have most certainly earned our nation’s gratitude and a long and lovely retirement on the farm in Pennsylvania.
I enjoyed meeting so many of your colleagues and could tell from the ready grins on their faces and the enthusiasm in their voices that you really are a great leader. But really, even when I told him who your were, that Lone Sailor guy just wouldn’t admire my knitting. So disappointing!
The ceremony was anything but. Your family was rapt with respect and love.
There were many laughs in the ceremony, but I was most touched by the moments of reflection.
And the ceremony where they passed the flag that had been flown over the Pentagon to you, especially with Allen participating, was incredibly moving. The precise, choreographed, and slowly executed precision passing of the flags through the ranks, the pride showing on each face as they received and then passed the flag on, and especially the way they each gazed directly in each other’s eyes with such respect for each other and the flag and the country - wow, I believe it is safe to say there were not many in the audience who weren’t wiping a tear or two.
The look on your face as you prepared to receive the flag just slayed me.
But not as much as when you requested, and were granted, permission to go ashore. I couldn’t get a good photo of that - my hands may have been shaking a bit. But your respect and affection for the Chief of Naval Operations was captured in the handshake you gave him just after he granted you that permission.
Permission to stay ashore, plant some roots at Fair Winds, and enjoy friends and family without worry, knowing you’ve left the Navy prepared for the future.