The Watch

as read at my retirement ceremony.

After serving in the US Navy for 22 years it was time for me to move on to another career. This poem was my favorite piece that was presented to me at my retirement ceremony.

The Watch

Today our navy has given most of the pomp and circumstance, the honors, traditions, and ceremonies back to history... time does not give us the freedom to do these things from the past... but, we still have to stop all engines, lay about smartly, and drop anchor to pay homage to one of our shipmates going ashore. To honor the years served, the guidance, the leadership, the friendship and the expertise that this shipmate has freely given these 22 years.

For twenty-two years
This sailor has stood the watch

While some of us were in our bunks at night
This sailor stood the watch

While some of us were in school learning our trade
This shipmate stood the watch

Yes.. even before some of us were born into this world
This shipmate stood the watch

In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen brewing on the horizon of history
This shipmate stood the watch

Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family standing there
Needing his guidance and help

Needing that hand to hold during those hard times
But he still stood the watch

He stood the watch for twenty-two years
He stood the watch so that we, our families and

Our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety, Each and every night
Knowing that a sailor stood the watch

Today we are here to say
'Shipmate... the watch stands relieved

Relieved by those You have trained ,Guided, and Led
Shipmate you stand relieved.. We have the watch..."

"Boatswain..Standby to pipe the side...Shipmate's going Ashore.."

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"Any man who may be asked ... what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, 'I served in the United States Navy,'" President John F. Kennedy, August 1963.

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