Thursday, July 7, 2011

Change of Command

My mom goes bananas for all things military.  She does.  Given the chance to take a cruise or see a military band play, she would probably go see the band.  So either she's rubbing off on me or I feel a responsibility for her to live vicariously through me.  Regardless, every time there's something particularly "military" going on (which, living on an island with 50,000 military members, isn't that infrequent!) I feel obliged, or at least curious, to go see.

So on Thursday there was a "Change of Command Ceremony" where the head of the hospital was leaving and being replaced by a new CO.  Stevie thought I was nuts, in fact he declined to go, but I dressed the kids and myself up and headed over to see the pomp and circumstances of it.

The Change of Command Ceremony, according to the program, is not a Navy regulation, but is a traditional Navy custom that does not have an equivalent in the Army or Air Force.  It is supposed to be formal and impressive, and it was.  The heart of the ceremony is the formal reading of the official orders by the officer to be relieved and by the relieving officer.  Command passes upon utterance by the relieving officer saying, "I relieve you, Sir!"  The officer being relieved responds, "I stand relieved."

Mike and Wendy, two of our neighbors, glad to be out of the ceremony!

OK, the strictly military parts of the ceremony were impressive - the parading of the Colors, the Arrival of the Official Party, the sounding of the bells, the music, the uniforms, etc. - but I do have to say that after an hour and 20 minutes with a lot of boring speeches I was ready to check this one off my "must see" list.  As I told the kids when we were walking out, "I promise, you'll never have to go to one of those again!"

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