Yesterday's Memorial Day ceremonies throughout NYC reminded me of why I love this great city -- because I believe there's no place on Earth quite like New York where people are so outwardly grateful and appreciative of their men and women in uniform. New York Fleet Week serves as a great testament to that belief. In fact, it's a rare day when I wear my summer whites out and about the City that I'm not stopped by several people on the streets saluting me and asking me what I do in the service. Many times they look shocked to hear that I'm stationed right here in Midtown Manhattan. "I do public relations for the Navy," I say. They usually respond with a confused look on their face and then mumble something about not knowing there were ships stationed in New York City.
I smile as we part ways because I know how lucky I am to be assigned here. In fact it's down right humbling to serve as the City's face of the Navy, representing some of the hardest working people in the military. I'm talking about our deck plate enlisted Sailors who are manning 12-hour port and starboard watches in ships' CIC and still find time to get their warfare quals so that they can advance in their rate. Or the brand spanking-new ensign, otherwise known as the "George," who gets stuck with the mid-watch in three section rotation. Or the countless other watches, duties and responsibilities our Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen take on everyday -- many of them (Sailors) deployed as boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan that people don't even know about much less consider on a semi-regular basis.
Memorial Day is a great reminder of the daily sacrifice these service members make because it is a time when we honor and remember those who have served and gone before us. Perhaps it's fitting that Memorial Day falls toward the end of our week of fun, celebration and festivities. Tomorrow the ships leave for their home port stations in Norfolk and Mayport.
Last call for New York Fleet Week.