Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Great and the Ugly

Earlier this week, we boarded our two cats in Albuquerque and flew to Jacksonville, North Carolina, to attend the retirement ceremony for our older son, Doug, at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. Doug joined the Marines about one month after graduating from high school. In 23 years he rose to the rank of Master Sergeant, serving in Somalia, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since we last saw Doug and his wife, Sherry, and two daughters, Rachal and Samantha, a little over two years ago, Doug spent a year in Iraq.

We were so proud to hear his career praised during the retirement ceremony. He has served his country with honor through these years. It was very moving. One portion of the event included a poem in praise of “Old Glory,” our United States flag, and concluded with the passing of a folded flag in a ceremony called “Keeping the Watch.” It brought tears to our entire family as it ended by saying, “you are relieved of the watch.”

In addition to the retirement, our trip gave us some precious time with our two granddaughters. They have grown and matured so over two years. We were able to attend an award ceremony at Hunter Creek Elementary where Rachal received a writing award. Sami showed us how she bowls with their Wii.

Three other family members also attended the retirement. Doug’s aunt and uncle, John and Cindy, and our younger son, Eric, had all been present in San Diego in 1986 when Doug graduated from boot camp. We all gathered again for his retirement. We had great family time with them, as well.

This picture shows Eric, me and John, Doug, Cindy and John.

The ugly part of our trip was the Wednesday flight from Albuquerque to Jacksonville. We arrived at the Albuquerque Sunport at 7 am for our 8:40 am flight. Departure time was postponed several times as repair of a leak was attempted. About 11 am gate agents suggested everyone come to the desk to make other flight arrangements, since they expected the flight would be cancelled—the third Delta flight of the morning to be aborted. At 11:55 am we sprinted from that gate down the concourse to an American Airlines gate where the flight was to depart at 12:10 pm for Dallas.

In Dallas we sprinted to another gate to catch a Delta flight to Atlanta. In Atlanta we hurried from one concourse to another to catch an 8:40 pm flight to Jacksonville. We had originally anticipated arriving in North Carolina at 5:12 pm. It was a long, grueling day, but worth every bit of the hassle for the great time we had in North Carolina.


  1. God bless Doug and his family. I'm sure this retirement is a relief to you, too.

  2. What a lovely moment for your family. You son is still young enough to have an interesting civilian career.

    Do you remember when flying was luxurious. Now it seems to just be a hassle and a grind. My former wife used to dress up in her finest when she flew, usually managing to attract a man to buy her a drink. For a while I think she thought of herself as a member of the jet set.