Thursday, October 29, 2009
He stands relieved
Wrapping up in Jacksonville has been more of a roller coaster than foreseen. But all else aside, this is what brought us. And what takes us.
Hail and Farewell for Josh and the gentleman who replaces him on the frigate upon which he has served out of the Mayport basin here: All through. It was moving and sentimental. Fair winds, following seas. Best of luck.
The Navy does far too many of these events, it seems.
Yesterday, at 11 am, he was rung off the brow of the ship. There were a few misty eyes. That happens when a couple dozen Naval officers on either side hold their salute as he walks off and the bell rings twice; once short, once long. When that soulful baritone slowly bellows these words, "Lieutenant Joshua Kersting, departing." their formal goodbye noting the end of their service to that vessel and her crew, can be awe-inspiring.
All concerned watch to see if tradition is broken and the departing officer looks back. Young first tours are always looking over their shoulders, it seems. But he kept walking. Never looked back; Friendships and wars notwithstanding, when it is done, it is done. After a while, maybe they become better at the sensation of leaving things behind.
He stands relieved.
On to Middleburg, Virginia. Are you with us?