From the Past to the Present – Thanks
Somewhere under the blue Pacific Ocean today, a young sailor arose from Bunk room 1, bunk 3 to do whatever it is that he is tasked with doing to guard my freedoms today. It is quite probable that he wasn’t even born the last Thanksgiving Day that I climbed out of that rack and headed off to the Missile Control Center to watch over the Nuclear Deterrence of the nation.
Thanksgiving at sea can be a great thing. I was young and single, with no real attachments and eating the best food the Navy had to offer on the best day of the year to just eat. A very long time ago.
Today, I am thankful for whoever that sailor who took my place is. That he, or even she these days, chose to take on the task of defending freedom. That they are willing to be away from family and friends on this holiday to make sure that I and my family, as well as you and yours, eat, fellowship and enjoy the day in liberty and safety.
I am and will always be thankful for my time aboard USS Michigan SSBN-727(G). A ship is more than metal and equipment, it is made up more of flesh and blood in the form of her crew than she is by what Electric Boat put aboard her. And for me, those men with whom I served all those years ago – a generation and a half – are still the most precious and influential gift that I ever received. As the days pass and the years seem to shorten, I come to appreciate those shipmates more and more with each day that slips by to join the others in the past.
I am ever so thankful for those men and that time. Not just for what we did and accomplished, but for what it has come to mean to me after so many years. We were so young, and now as we age, I look back at how much each and every one of them influenced me and my life, and it reminds me of how blessed I was to have served with those people.
And this morning, some young Sailor got out of our old bunks and made his – or even her – way to watch stations we used to man. Carrying on our traditions and our work.
I am thankful for those sailors, and for my shipmates of yesterday.