This past weekend I was a part of my friend Lenore Tyler retirement ceremony. After twenty years in the Navy she was retiring.
It was a wonderful experience. Below is the speech I made.
I met Petty Officer Tyler in boot camp. We became friends because my bunkmate was a screw up and they reassigned us to new bunks. Mine happen to be beside Tyler as I called her. We started hanging out with each other. We loved to dance and we got our groove on every weekend while in seaman training.
We had some wild weekends together. Like the one time we rented a hotel room with some other girls and one of them decided to bring us some men to our room. We had to get girlfriend told. We didn’t play that.
Tyler and I cried together when we received our first duty stations. I was going to Guam. I had never heard of Guam. She was going to Iceland. Who goes to Iceland? We promised to write to each other.
We kept the promises. We wrote about our pitiful love lives. The places we visited and how much we enjoyed the Navy. Together we served our country and our friendship grew. I know now our friendship is a gift from God because she’s the only person I’ve kept in touch with since boot camp.
When I decided not to re-enlist, my friend came to visit me in Florida. We hadn’t seen each other in years, but with old friend, you pick off where you left off.
I went home to St. Louis and she re-enlisted. Through her letters and phone calls I visited Puerto Rico, Spain, Greece and many other places she was stationed. I prayed for her when she went up for her different ranks and cheered when she made them. When I decided it was time to become a wife, Tyler was right there with the video camera. She never did give me the bachelorette tape. Claimed it was for blackmail later.
Like a good friend does, she is always a good listener and never beat me up for never having the chance to visit her. She’s a good supporter who will never know how much it meant to me when she sent a check to subscribed to my magazine. A friend who believes in your dreams is a true friend indeed. I hope I’ve been that type of friend to her as she has been to me.
Tyler did what my mother wanted me to do, she continued to serve her country. I’m truly proud to be here today to help her celebrate her accomplishment of 20 years in the Navy. I consider myself bless to be able to say I was there when she started her career in the Navy and I’m here to see her end her career twenty years later.
Lenore I know this is a new beginning for you. It might be a little scary but if you can survive the Navy for twenty years. Your next adventure will be a piece of cake. May I be blessed to continue being your friend and experiences your adventures with you. I love you and I’m glad the Lord sent a friend like you to me. May he continue to bless you and fulfill all your dreams. Congratulations on your retirement.