Last Wednesday we attended the retirement of a dear couple, Andy and Susi, from the US Navy.  This ceremony had all the tradition and dignity you would expect from a Navy function.  I was touched by it all frankly:  the kind words spoken by colleagues, the recognition of Susi’s role in Andy’s success as a naval officer, Andy’s speech, the ship’s bell announcing the end of Andy’s watch, the boatswain’s whistle, etc. 

We arrived late due to a couple of missed turns and of course, the only seats left were in the front row.  Military functions start on time, so they were well into the ceremony when we tried to sneak in 5 minutes late.  (color us embarrassed). 

I noticed immediately that there were two posts set up with a rope which looked like the walkway onto a ship (called a gangway,  I think) and I thought that was a nice touch.  Little did I realize that at the end of the ceremony, Andy would ask permission to go ashore.  After permission was granted, he walked the gangway to shore, symbolizing the end of his career with the Navy.

Andy's retirement speech

Before that, he had read his own orders removing him from active duty, which was one of those traditions that only the Navy has. 

The retirement ceremony was followed by a lovely reception which was prepared by Susi.  Since she is from Austria, she prepared an array of delicious Austrian pastries.  I don’t know the names of them so I thought I would illustrate them instead.  Besides, a picture is worth 1000 words.  Right?Austrian delights

These dear friends have retired to Austria.  We shall miss them terribly, but hey, now we have an excuse for a trip abroad!