Welcome Home, Captain.

I mentioned earlier this week that two friends were dealing with returning soldiers this week. One was LTCOL Dan Bohmer, who is safely home. Huzzah! I talked about him and his blog a bit here. Now it’s time to talk about the other.

The other returnee is a British captain, like Dan returning from Afghanistan, in one of the stranger twists of life, I know a bit about him and am sure he knows a bit about me but, we’ve never met. So why him? There’s a story in that.

I’ve been blogging for a bit over a year and I’ve met some wonderful people because of it. The Captain’s wife is one of them. A year ago I hadn’t met a British subject since I was in college but, several are friends now. But even in that select company, the captain’s wife is very special. In the course of the last few months, she has become my dearest friend, period. On or off the internet. In fact I have been known to refer to her as my niece, because that’s how much I love her. Who is this paragon? If you read here at all, you already know. She is none other than Jessica Hoff of All along the Watchtower, my second home on the internet.

Her husband, who I am very much looking forward to meeting, at least for now, at a distance, is a captain in the British army. One of those brave souls who had enough guts to go to Afghanistan (for the fourth time in 150 years)for no better reason than we were going. Friends like these don’t grow on trees, and whatever we did to earn their friendship wasn’t nearly enough.

Our countries have been working together, for the betterment of the world since the Anti-Slavery patrols off Africa in the 19th century and like all relatives we have our spats. but this Yank has always been glad that you are there, the original home of the brave and land of the free.

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack,
      the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
      While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
      O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for
      you the bugle trills, 

         For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores
             a-crowding,
          For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
             Here Captain! dear father!
               This arm beneath your head!
                 It is some dream that on the deck,
                   You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
          My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
          The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
          From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
               Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                 But I with mournful tread,
                   Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                    Fallen cold and dead.

I also note that like the good officer he is, he brought his men home with him and I’m very glad they are home as well. My buddies in the Navy have a flag hoist that I suspect you know, in writing we tend to put it.

Bravo Zulu

Now, I’m quite sure you two kids have better things to do than read an old Yank’s drivel, so get to it :-)

It’s also Saturday so here’s some music for the day.

Welcome Home, Sir, and God Bless you both, The first toast tonight will be to you. Have a wonderful weekend.

A repeat , just for you, Jess, Have fun, my dearest friend :-)

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

10 Responses to Welcome Home, Captain.

  1. JessicaHof says:

    Thank you my dearest friend – what a wonderful send off – this is lovely, and will keep me going until the big reunion xxx :)

    • Thanks, dearest friend, you have a wonderful weekend. :-)

  2. My blessings to both you and your gallant husband Jess.

  3. kathleen says:

    Wow NEO, this was wonderful! With such great and loyal friends ‘over the pond’, is it any wonder that we Brits think of you Americans as ‘Simply The Best’…… better than all the rest! :-)

    • Well, Kathleen, we’re pretty bumptious and rude, the country cousins, so to speak, but God, nature, and our heritage has made us leaders. Part of that heritage is an ability to remember our friends.

      One of the things, that is a touchstone to Americans is that the Brits, the Canadians, and the Aussies are out there, and that they are our friends.

      There were a lot of sighs of relief during the revolt in Libya when the pictures came in of the HMS Sheffield pulling in to Benghazi harbor.

      Many of us actively dislike a lot of things about Europe, but we are flat in love, and have been for a long time, with Britain. That map I ran a while back said it all, in most of our minds, The UK is simply Mummy, and it won’t change anytime soon..

  4. kathleen says:

    I am really touched to the heart by your words NEO. And I don’t think most Brits see you as either bumptious or rude; rather loudly spoken perhaps – nothing wrong in that – but also loyal, kind and generous, hospitable, fun-loving and very very witty. (Don’t take any notice of the extreme left-wingers who bash the US, Israel, the Catholic Church, etc., yet suck up to the Moslems and their ilk. They only represent a small minority of the British public.)
    Glad you see us as “Mummy”! Being a Mummy myself, it’s a lovely surprise when you suddenly realise your “family” has multiplied by a some million! ;-)

    One of my brothers-in-law was in the Falklands War as a young pilot in the RAF. When the news broke that the great Ronald Reagan and the US had come down on our side, he said the roar that followed was enough to burst your ear drums! Splashed across the papers the next day were titles like, “YANKS A MILLION”. Yup, I still remember that.

    We (and the Aussies, Canadians, and Kiwis) certainly feel we are your friends with the same principles and ideals and that we are all on the same sort of wave-length. This looking westwards of the British infuriates our European neighbours sometimes….. which has caused us quite a bit of trouble in the past.

  5. Ah, well Kathleen, we are rather loudly spoken, and we do mean to be plainly understood. It’s also important to separate us from our brand of left-winger, which unfortunately lately seems to include our government. We also worry about your government although we usually manage to keep our mouths shut about it. Like ours they seem to have a predisposition against individual liberty which worries us a lot.

    On the Falklands, there was never any doubt about where we stood but we had to be a bit circumspect because of treaty obligations in this hemisphere. If you hadn’t noticed, Lady Thatcher is a great heroine here, in conservative circles anyway. Many, many of us remember watching the fleet sail with tears in our eyes, me amongst them.

    Any interesting connecting note on that fracas is that the USS Iwo Jima, one of our assault ships, rather like your carriers was being prepared to be lent to you, if you lost one of your carriers. It was your battle to fight but, we were decidedly here for you.

    And that’s really what it’s all about, it’s the principles we share, were you aware that one copy of Magna Charta, sealed by Edward I is in the United States, it’s privately owned and on permanent loan to the national Archives, where it is displayed next to our “Declaration of Independence and Constitution as one of the “Documents of Freedom”.

    You would be surprised how many of us would like to jerk you away from Europe into a free trade zone or more with us and Canada, we think you are far more like us than you are Europe.

  6. kathleen says:

    There’s another important quality we see in the Americans that I forgot to mention above. It’s your courage and your honour to duty. No other nation can beat you there! :-)

    Yes, we worry about our government too NEO. Most of us hoped for more from Cameron, but on a number of issues (notably this coming out in favour of gay ‘marriage’) we feel he has let us down badly. He may not look like a wimp, but many of us are beginning to see him as one! Where in the UK can we find another Margaret Thatcher? ;-)

    I think we all knew the difficult situation for the US, and what you were risking, when you backed our boys over the Falklands War. It made us love you all the more for it.
    Whatever one’s opinion over these remote islands might be (as geographically of course, they are a lot nearer Argentina), no one can barge into another’s territory and claim it as theirs. If Maggie Thatcher had not sent the troops to reclaim the Falklands, I believe the incident would have set a precedent of a whole lot more invasions all over the world…. with dire consequences.

    No, I wasn’t aware of that news about the Magna Carta!! Makes me proud…..You guys are really great!

  7. Courage, Well, I suppose so, we are still willing to go out in the world to fight evil but, the reverse of that coin is that the rest of what Daniel Hannan calls the Anglosphere is never very far behind, and usually at our side. And you are right, Honor and duty still mean a very great deal to most of us, old fashioned as they sound. I, and many others still subscribe to:

    “Duty, then is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.”

    Which of course came from one of our greatest soldiers, Robert E. Lee.

    And you are correct, it would have set a very bad precedent, particularly since the population wanted to be British.

    Jess and I have talked some about your government and I think a large part of your problem is that your party discipline is far too strict, and too controlled by the government, they seem even more detached from the citizenry than ours, and ours are setting themselves up for a fall, it they don’t soon remember who the boss is! :-)

    If I can get it put together I’m going to have more to say about the Charter and America this week. But the short form is; American History until 1776 is English history, and we haven’t forgotten it. :-)

  8. Pingback: Have fun, Dearest friend « nebraskaenergyobserver

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