So Friday I got up at 0500 in order to be on time! You know you are important when I will give up sleep for you. Even with some tie up in the Liberty Tunnel, I was there before the official party...barely, whew!
They had a tent set up near the ship with seats for more than a hundred people. I walked to the back edge to peer inside and hopefully spot and empty seat. A young Sailor came up to me "Excuse me ma'am. You look familiar." as she looked at me quizically. I laughed and responded that it was probably because I attend all these functions. She nodded and had me follow her in and I was seated in the 3rd row directly behind CDR Cooper's family.
I was barely settled when the official party arrived. But that counts as "on time" and that's all that matters.
CDR Bullard's XO LCDR Savage was master of ceremonies. The official party was piped through the sideboys. VADM Locklear, director, Navy Staff was the official speaker. Retired RDML DeLoach was there representing Naval history & Heritage Command. Then CDRs Bullard & Cooper in period uniforms.
We stood for the National Anthem and invocation. CDR Bullard stepped up briefly to introduce VADM Locklear who started off explaining his Boston connections....his wife is from the North End!
Then CDR Bullard got up to speak. It was a really good speech about how meaningful this past two years has been for him. He spoke glowingly of the 70 Sailors he had under his command. I was most touched when he acknowledged the sacrifices his wife and family made while he commanded Old Ironsides.
Of course, the most shocking part was when he gave a shout-out to some troublemaker who waylaid him at the Bunker Hill Parade. LOL Seriously, I was mentioned in the remarks.
CDR Cooper spoke briefly, following the 4 "ups" as he called them - showing up, stand up, something else and then shut up. Even though he was brief, he was funny. That's good, humor will get you through a lot.
Then came the reading of the official orders. CDR Bullard's voice caught a little and he had to take a moment. Then, the 70th in command was relieved.
I found this vid on YouTube. It's only 7 minutes long. The person who posted it said his battery ran out. If anyone has more, please let me know.