I had the honor of photographing Master Chief Gray’s retirement ceremony. May I say how much of an honor it truly was. I went into the day batteries charged, flashes packed, and lenses and cameras ready to go. I was on my own this day, because my lovely assistant (wife) got called into work last minute. No problem at all. I can easily handle this. Pack all my gear into the car and away I go. Norfolk Navel Base bound, and may I say another remarkable place. Once at the venue I quickly go to work. Setting up two flashes, and getting the camera dialed in to go to work. Ready, set, and go. I was never expecting the emotion that I soon found this ceremony to be. A ceremony of honor, courage, devotion, and hard work. Not to mention a deep love of family.
A sailors love runs deep for his family. It is easy to see that every sailor appreciates every second they have with their family. Master Chief Gray was no different. Spanning four generations all were present to watch his glorious day. Even his grandson joined him on stage, and I don’t believe there was a non smiling face in the house. Emotions were high, and tears were flowing.
The part that really got me even tearing up was the reading of “Old Glory”. This is a unique and very moving poem written about our flag as Americans. Paired with the unfolding and refolding of the flag itself made for a truly moving speech. If you ever have the honor to attend an event such as this I encourage you to attend. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house during this poem. I do alot of event photography, but I was not expecting emotion on this level from this event.
After the ceremony it was time to PARTY. A well suited patriotic decor graced the Portsmouth Firefighters union hall. All the way down to the cupcakes the patriotic theme was carried out. Ooooo so yummy food was in abundance, and an overall feeling of joy in the hall. Many many people came out to congratulate Master Chief Gray, and his accomplishment of 30 years in the Navy. Serving our country to his fullest, and sacrificing all a sailor gives up for us.
For this Scott on the behalf of all Americans I THANK YOU.
Congratulations Master Chief Gray.