Today, I mark the ten-year anniversary of my retirement from the United States Navy. I thoroughly enjoyed serving my country, considering it an honor and a privilege to retire from the military as a Commander with nearly 21 years of service as a Public Affairs Officer.
Although it may seem far fetched, the St. Louis Cardinals planted my interest in writing, which then ushered in my military career. During the summers in Southeast Missouri, my father and I would enjoy a special time each evening when he came in from the farm fields. We’d listen to the games broadcast on the radio by Harry Caray, Jack Buck and Mike Shannon. Those memories instilled my desire to be a life-long fan of the Cardinals. They also opened my dream to become a sports reporter, which eventually morphed into a journalist and PAO for the Navy.
When I retired in 2006, I asked that my Navy retirement flag be flown at two locations. One was the USS Arizona, the most moving site I’ve ever visited, and the other was Busch Stadium. Now, every time my husband and I attend a game, we must walk through Gate 3 where my flag flew.
Currently, I’m involved in a military veterans outreach program and frequently speak with audiences of vets and their family members. Many times I’m in Cardinals gear, and I’m teasingly asked to explain my attire in the midst of Kansas City Royals country. I share my story and finish by pointing out that my flag flew during the inaugural year of Busch Stadium III and then jokingly claim part of the glory for taking the 2006 World Series. Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and the rest of the team helped a little bit.
My family's history of military duty stretches back to my great-grandfather serving in the cavalry for the Union army during the Civil War. I consider it an honor to have continued my family tradition of service to my country. I ask my Facebook friends to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who carry physical and emotional battle wounds, whose lives and those of their families are forever changed.
Fair winds and following seas.
Reflecting on ten years past SEPTEMBER 2016