The military does many things to support its servicemembers. Sometimes we raise our eyebrows in question or frustration but other times we applaud and feel proud. One thing all the military services do well is ceremony. It has been my honor and pleasure as a Navy wife to participate in weddings, funerals, commissionings, re-enlistments and retirements and I almost always find them moving. As an officer, Donald oversaw many of those types of ceremonies as well as burials at sea and other, private affairs that civilians would not be permitted to attend. Donald did not technically rate a full retirement ceremony since it is a medical retirement but his command determined that the occasion warranted a ceremony anyway. On Monday the Navy said goodbye to our family in military style. Donald received a retirement certificate signed by the Commander in Chief. The boys and I also received certificates retiring them as Navy kids and me as a Navy wife. Donald gave each of us gifts and the chaplain staff gathered round us to pray for us and send us off into a new adventure, each of them assuring us that God's plan for us is not finished and pleading God's blessing upon us as we depart.
Our family had a small, private celebration last Friday evening to mark the end of Donald's career. Having the Navy mark the occasion with a public event to honor nearly 13 years of service helped to bring Donald's career full circle and provide a measure of closure. After all, his commissioning service was full of joy and excitement and we had food and cake to celebrate. It is fitting, therefore, that a retirement service should be sad and yet still full of excitement at whatever comes next. And, of course, there was food and cake to celebrate! Many thanks to Chaplain Tate and the Pastoral Staff at NMCP for your support during the last two years. Thank you, Tremblay, for driving down from DC! Thank you, US Navy, for providing a career of wonderful duty stations and lifelong friends. We are a family abundantly blessed by God!