Today I was truly honored to attend the retirement ceremony of a wonderful man, Culinary Specialist Chief Ken Mayberry. We know Ken and his wife, Mercedes through church. I can honestly say that I am so blessed to just be in acquaintance with this family. I have never known another family who is so devoted to service. Whether it’s for their church, the community, their country, I see them step up and do what needs to be done always with a smile on their faces. You can’t come in contact with them and not be in a better mood. There are not many people I can say that about. 

This was one of the most moving ceremonies I have ever been too. Ken’s cousin, 2nd LT Ryan Williams opened with a few words. It was powerful. This young man has been in the Air Force for all of about 24 weeks. His words spoke volumes about the character of Ken Mayberry. I am that old now that I heard what LT Williams had to say and all I could think was, this kid is going to be somebody someday and I need to remember that I heard his speak. One of the things that he said he learned from Ken stuck with me, “Circumstance is not an excuse for failure.” That is something I want to pass to my children and I wish it was something that every young person would hold on to. 

I am a sucker and a sap for these ceremonies. From the reading of “The Watch” to the passing of “Olde Glory” I cry my eyes out. I wish everyone could experience the pomp and circumstance of these ceremonies and truly feel what it means to be part of something bigger than yourself. When our flag is saluted and passed from hand to hand as the poem “Olde Glory” is read, I can’t help but ache to be part of the United States. When they read “The Watch,” I think of every sailor and what they’ve sacrificed and how thankful I am for the sailors who are allowed to be relieved by their friends and not by their death. 

Today it was honor to say “Fair Winds and Following Seas” to Ken. I hope you enjoy your retirement. 

This is a horrible picture because of the back lighting but it was so wonderful to witness it.