Red, White & Blue in Black & White   1 comment

I don’t know about you but for me, this photo taken at the end of WWII signifies so much patriotism. Maybe because I was a Navy Wife for 9 years. Maybe it’s because I know first handed about the sacrifice it takes to serve. I used to say “They don’t call it Service life for nothing!”. I married a young Naval Officer ten days before my 20th birthday. We moved 12 times in 9 years. We lived in some of the most beautiful places on the planet including San Diego and Oahu, Hawaii. Well my ex-husband would say “Janiece went to San Diego, I went to sea!”. I suppose that is true because that fateful year that the Iranian leader took our citizens hostage, he was serving on the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). They had been on deployment since May of 1979. We (the dependents of ship’s company) were expecting our loved ones home for Christmas. Dec 17th to be exact! It may have been 31 years but I remember the dates like it was yesterday. What happened on Nov 4th could have only been dreamed up by a novelist. I was in my mid 20’s and naive enough to really believe that the carrier would be visible early on the morning of Dec 17th! There would be saiiors aligned and standing at easel elbow to elbow around the top deck as they s-l-o-w-l-y came into San Diego Harbor. The process would take more than 4 hours but the nervous energy and anticipation would carry us through the wait. Then after what seemed to be days of waiting that morning….the plank would be put in place and the sailors would disembark. The highest ranking officers first……wait no, that is NOT how it happens. The NEW FATHERS were allowed to go first. Rank was no matter! What mattered was that the wait was over. They were finally going to be able to lay their eyes on those babies that were born in the past 8 months. Born while the daddies (just daddies on carriers in 1979) were serving our country. I was not a mommy yet at that point but just the thought of never seeing your own baby until they are 8 months old just makes me weep. The arrival of the carrier would be amazing… but on Nov 4th of that year we found out that there would be no December 17th party. As a matter of fact, the hostage taking had made the return date completely unknown now. They were being send back to the I.O. (Indian Ocean) indefinitely. I can honestly say I was devastated. I had given notice on my job and our apartment. I had made arrangement for the pack out the week before Christmas. We had plans to spend Christmas in Denver with the In-Laws. Just about the time I was knee-deep in my own pity party, I started thinking about all those new daddies who were once again asked to put their emotions in a box and place it back on the shelf indefinitely. Also the question loomed “Are we headed to war?” “We he be safe?” “What will happen next?”.
Well Christmas came and went. 1980 was ushered in by happy couples everywhere with a kiss much like the one in the photo above. But there was not a “Happy New Year” for the men and dependents of the USS Kitty Hawk that year. They spent it off the coast of Iran. It was a hard time for all. Just the unknowing. The uncertainty. The service life is truly SERVICE. Like I said I experienced it first handed.
Our men came home on Feb 25, 1980. And the scene was much like the one I described. There was some additional items on the pier that day. There were Christmas trees with yet-to-be opened presents underneath. There were Happy New Year decorations and party hats. There were Valentine’s Day hearts and candy. You see the 5,500 men in ship’s company and their families had not yet celebrated any of these holidays…. and we didn’t want to lose one more minute. Oh yeah, and the babies….many now 10 months old waited with their mommies at the bottom of the New Daddy line! The Kleenex concession would have made a mint that day! It was really a sight to see.
I am proud that I can say I served as a Navy Wife all those years. I did my part to support my husband, a great American, as he served and defended the country that we both love very much. I wanted to share my experience as a way to say thank you to Michael and all the brave men and women that fearlessly serve everyday. We are immensely lucky to have fine people who are willing to serve and defend. Happy Veteran’s Day from the bottom of this Navy Wife’s heart.

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Posted November 12, 2010 by dsgnmom in Uncategorized

One response to “Red, White & Blue in Black & White

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  1. You’re a terrific lady and GREAT AMERICAN. Love ya gal.

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