There are good ships and wood ships,
Ships that sail the seas,
But the best ships are friendships,
May they always be!
I had the enormous honor of photographing the retirement ceremony for Lieutenant Commander Wiechert earlier this month! These ceremonies are always so special and always get me. The Wiechert Family is leaving the Navy after 30 years of service. WOW. I did not know this sweet family before the ceremony but I still loved hearing all of the stories from friends and family. It’s easy to see how this family has touched so many lives throughout Ben’s service. Colleagues offered kind words and reflected on their time spent with him. Ben’s brother gave a touching tribute and some pretty funny stories of their times together. I loved how Ben spent his time to speak thanking family and friends that had supported them over the years. His oldest daughter read a story of how God created the Navy Wife. It’s time like this I’m glad I can raise my camera to cover my face! Not a dry eye!!
The ceremony also had plenty of wonderful traditions. My favorite is always the folding of the flag and the reading of Old Glory. It is such a POWERFUL moment. It’s a poignant remembrance of what our flag stands for and a humble reminder of those who serve to defend it at home and abroad. The precision and the reverence reflect the respect these men and woman have for the flag and our country. It’s an honor to witness and a truly humbling experience.
Thank you so much, Wiechert Family, not only for allowing me to be there with you on this very special day but for all of your sacrifice in serving our country! It was such a great pleasure to meet you and your wonderful family. Here’s to a happy and relaxing retirement!!
I am the flag of the United States of America
My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America’s halls of justice.
I fly majestically over great institutes of learning.
I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.
Look up! And see me!
I stand for peace, honor, truth, and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident . . . I am arrogant.
I am proud.
When I am flown with my fellow banners,
my head is a little higher,
my colors a little truer.
I bow to no one.
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped.
I am saluted.
I am respected.
I am revered. I am loved.
And I am feared.
I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years…
Gettysburg, Shilo, Appomatox, San Juan Hill, Manila Bay, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Leyte Gulf, Anzio, Midway, Normandy, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, The Persian Gulf, Bonsnia, Afghanistan,
and a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.
I quickly re-stood my ground on top of the rubble of the World Trade Center and re-established my position draped over the smoking ruins of the Pentagon.
But for those who were there with me…
I was there!
I led my Sailors and Marines.
I followed them.
I watched over them…
They loved me.
I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle-worn and tired,
but my soldiers cheered me,
and I was proud.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries
I have helped set free.
It does not hurt . . . for I am invincible.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country,
and when it is by those with whom I have served in battle . . . it hurts.
But I shall overcome . . . for I am strong.
I have slipped the bonds of Earth
and stand watch over the uncharted new frontiers of space
from my vantage point on the moon.
I have been a silent witness to all of America’s finest hours.
But my finest hour comes
when I am torn into strips to be used for bandages
for my wounded comrades on the field of battle.
when I fly at half mast to honor my Sailors and my Marines…
and when I lie in the trembling arms
of a grieving mother at the graveside of her fallen son or daughter.
I am proud.
My name is Old Glory.
Long may I wave.
Dear God . . . Long may I wave!