Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Fourth of July

Here in America we are celebrating Independence Day - The Fourth of July - with picnics and fireworks all over this wonderful country.  Do we really know what all the festivities are about?  Do we appreciate what our forefathers and their families sacrificed so we could live in a free society?  It's not all about potato salad, hot dogs and sparklers.  It's so much more than that.  It's standing up for what you believe in, regardless of the cost.

This year, Independence Day means just that much more to our family.  We are also celebrating our son's retirement from the United States Navy.  He has served his country proudly for 23 years.  He enlisted and went into the Navy right out of high school.  After he had been in for a number of years, with the encouragement from his commanding officer, he decided to apply for Officer's Candidate School so he is retiring as a Lieutenant.  He has really taken advantage of all the military could offer.  He has seen the world and has had some wonderful duty stations like Japan and Spain and some not so great duty stations like Bahrain and Afghanistan.  He's also gone to college, travelled, volunteered, mentored and made an entire world's worth of friends.  I can say without bias that he is the type of person you want in your military.  It has not always been easy.  He's had to sacrifice lots to get where he is.  We have spent very few holidays or birthdays or just quiet family time together for 23 years.  A long time ago I had to purpose to give him to the Lord to watch over him when I knew he was in situations that were less than safe.  

This is all so bittersweet for me.  For 23 years I've been a Navy mom  I know it's going to be difficult to let go of that.  However, I'm glad he's going to be home and safe and ready for the next chapter in his life.

He's been having his retirement celebrations and this is what was gifted to him.  My favorite part are the pictures.  The one on the left is the young Navy recruit, just starting out, not knowing what lies ahead but ready for anything!  The one on the right is the man, the officer that young boy grew to be.

Aaron:  Dad and I and the rest of the family are so very proud of all you have accomplished in the Navy and in your life!

Fair winds and following seas on this next chapter of your life!


JoAnne said...

What a lovely tribute post! Today was my husband's last day in uniform. I know what you mean about things changing. I told my husband that I'm not sure if I feel like I have a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders or had the safety net removed from below me. Life changes, though, and we will be proud of the service!!! Congratulations and thanks for your son's service!

Salmagundi said...

Wonderful post! Blessings to him as he embarks on a new journey. Sally

Jayne Honnold said...

You'll be having an extra-special 4th, won't you? All forthcoming holidays, as well! Thank you to your son for his service. The pride you have of him shines all through this lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing this special occasion with us!

Susie Q said...

Happy 4th of July and a lovely tribute to your son. I hope his new adventures bring him much happiness. Have a lovely Day and weekend. Susie x

Thimbleanna said...

Wow -- what a great post Miss Jean. Congratulations to your son -- and Best Wishes for his retirement!

Lynette said...

Wow - that's a really neat memorial plaque. A big congrats, Well Done!, and THANK YOU to your son. I think Navy families make the biggest sacrifice of all of us military folks. They're gone a lot more with their normal at-sea tours, while our people are "only" gone for deployments, remotes, or TDYs. Wishes for a nice post-retirement life!

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Jean,
What a beautiful post! How very proud you are and I am proud of him too.
My nephew still is serving with the Marines with over 5 tours under his belt.
Thank God Aaron is home now and "Safe"
Thank you Aaron, sending you a big big hug!