Saturday, February 17, 2007

So long, Farewell, Auf wiedersehen, Goodbye

My sister is saying Good bye to the Navy after 24 years of service and the entire family converged on Virginia Beach for the occasion.

The Navy does do these things up right. Despite it being very, very , very cold (and where those hot flashes when I needed them) and despite the ceremony being held on board The USS Theodore Roosevelt in an area with no heat it was very moving and enjoyable

During one part of the ceremony an officer recited from memory a piece of prose entitled "Old Glory" while the sailors passed a folded flag from hand to hand and saluted each other in slow motion. My sister said this Passing of the Flag Ceremony is traditional and it brought tears to every one's eyes (even mine!).

I've never had much to do with the military - since I'm not one to keep my mouth shut about anything

I 'd be a total failure at "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". All of a sudden I found myself in the middle of a Naval Shipyard surrounded by Sailors and other members of the Armed Forces. They were all so very, very young and were overwhelmingly people of color. Our all volunteer military is one place where the minorities are the majority. They all looked so serious and purposeful and were uniformly polite (I felt very old by the time the affair was over).

But they still looked much to young to be toting a lethal looking firearm that in some cases was almost bigger than they were. I hope for their sakes and the sakes of their Mothers, wives and families that they never have to use them. Given our present administrations policies I fear this is a wish that won't be granted.


"Ms. Cornelius" said...

I sincerely want to say thank you to your sister for putting in 24 years serving our country.


alice, uptown said...

I don't know what the reason is, but I'm glad your sister is getting out before the getting gets more hideous than it has been. I'm glad the Navy does ceremonies well -- perhaps if the military stayed within that comfort zone, we'd all be a lot happier.