Tuesday, November 11, 2014

red, white and true . . .

Petty Officer of the Quarter picture, 1989
In 1989, I was serving in the Staff Judge Advocate's office at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. NAB Little Creek is the major operating base for the Amphibious Forces in the United States Navy's Atlantic Fleet. It's fondly referred to as the home of the "brown water Navy". :)

For some reason I've *never* been able to figure out, I was asked to be the key note speaker for the 5th Annual Federal Women's Week luncheon that year. Sorting through some old files and photos, I came across my hand written notes for that speech the other day and got a little misty-eyed reading it (as well as a few chuckles)!  In honor of Veteran's Day and the women who serve, I thought I'd share that (very brief) speech.

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Thank you Lt. Stallings. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  My standing before you today is a prime example of that 'can do' attitude.  This is the first time I've spoken publicly in front of such a large number of people.  With that in mind, I want you to know that when I was first asked to speak here today for the 5th Annual Federal Women's Week luncheon, I unhesitatingly said, "Yes!"  I am a firm believer in the 'can do' attitude where it applies to women and especially myself.  Thus I agreed to speak, but with so many different approaches to take, I spent the next two weeks scrambling for something coherent -- and meaningful -- to say.  I didn't struggle because I didn't know what to say, but rather because there is so much that can be said of the progress women have made in the work force over the last several decades. How to chose?

Today women are challenging themselves and consequently finding themselves quite at home in careers that twenty years ago belonged traditionally to men.  Interpretation and enforcement of the law, medicine, upper-level management, politics and the military are just of few of the many careers in which women are applying themselves.  And not only are women forging rewarding career paths, but many of us are raising families and managing to combine two separate, full-time jobs into twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  That's a really long week!  And a very rewarding one, as well.

But it's been through all of the positive things that have been spoken about in this last week that our advancement and contributions have been made possible.  The "can do" and the "sky is the limit" attitudes are what have given women the edge in their advancement in our world today.  With hard work, courage, and determination, women have waded past the skepticism and doubt and are emerging victorious.  Not just in their careers, but within themselves.  I know that we, as women, have always had the potential to put ourselves where we are going today, but it has taken patience and spirit to realize that potential and self-confidence and lots of that 'can do' attitude to make others aware of our full potential as well.  In knowing this, I realized what women are doing with their lives in this new work force era goes far beyond the "equal rights movement" or "equal work for equal pay".  It is a matter of "We the people," and "One nation under God indivisible":  for the betterment of all, versus the gain of just one.

In parting, I would like to share with you a verse I wrote to sum up my feelings on this tremendous subject:

At the end of each tunnel, there shines a light,
That with perseverance proves our futures bright.
Awakening minds; awareness sets in,
The belief in a new kind of future begins.
Spirits so high, driven by pride,
A force too strong to override.
Determination, over the years, strong-willed to succeed, conquering fears.
Hearts are opening to a great change, as thoughts and ideas fly in exchange.
Bound together as one, we're doing it all,
No obstacle too great, no step too small.

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I'm an arms-bearer, front row, third from the left.  Honor Guard was serious business. :)
So there you have it.  I'm so blessed to have been able to serve my country by serving in the U.S. Navy and have some marvelous memories.  Hug a veteran today -- tell them you appreciate their service.  Heck, find one *everyday* and tell 'em they're appreciated!!

Happy Veteran's Day!


13 expressed . . .:

Janet O. said...

What a pep talk you gave!
Thanks for your service, Denise. You look ready for anything in those photos! : )

Needled Mom said...

This was a wonderful post! Great picture too. My DH was Navy too so I'll give him that special hug.

Dee Dee said...

Oh Denise - thanks for this view into your life. Thank you for serving our country. You are amazing.

Doniene said...

Okay, girlfriend, I'm writing this with tears in my eyes! What a tribute to yourself, the men and women with which you served and those that continue to serve today. I am humbled and honored to call you a friend.

Blessings beyond your wildest imaginations!

Teresa in Music City said...

What a wonderful post Denise!!! Thank you so much for sharing it - and for sharing your life & heart for our country! Your "can-do" spirit infuses everything you do even today. Your life radiates with "No obstacle too great, no step too small" and encourages everyone around you. I am proud and blessed to call you friend :)

Mary said...

That's awesome that you you got to speak. Glad to know you are a veteran. Thanks to YOU and all who have served!

Melissa Bishop said...

Well said! You are too cute in your uniform. I posted a link to this on my FB page. Well done!

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Ok...so that was just totally awesome!!! Virginia Beach is my home town. Happy Veteran's Day girlfriend! Awesome...

Sarah said...

Sending a hug your way - thanks for your service!!!

Karen said...

I appreciate you more than you know! And btw, just about every time I see this picture I do a "It's Jocelyn, no it's not" double take. Every time. Beautiful.

Kate said...

Thank you for your years of service to our country.

What a great speech. In 1989, I went to work in what has been until just recently a very male dominated company. It's been a wild ride since.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Thank you for your service. My aunt was also in the Navy. I think she is the only woman in my family to serve (lots of men served).

Kris said...

WOW!! What a wonderful talk and you look so great in uniform!! So impressed!! That smile, fabulous!! And I LOVE - "No obstacle too great, no step too small." Here's a belated Veteran's Day hug!! :-))