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    1. #1
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      TuMicks's Avatar
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      Rambling thoughts on a Christmas night...

      I had the great good fortune of growing up in Annapolis, MD. We were not, strictly speaking, a Navy family. But it was a small "company town" and we felt like we were. It was in the late 50's, and early '60's. I could jump on my bike and along with my big brother and friends we could toodle down to the Academy and ride all over the campus, stand on the wooden foot bridge that arched over a diverted channel from the Severn River, down which the midshipmen competitive rowers would scull. Sometimes we'd horse around on the parade grounds when they weren't in use. It didn't hurt that a shirt-tail relation of ours was Captain Lamb who was a professor at the academy and lived on "Captain's Row." Every Christmas, I'd go to hear the Messiah performed by the Naval Academy Choir (all men back then) and women's choirs that were brought in to provide alto/soprano lines. Voices from the Washington National Opera would be brought in for the solo arias.

      During the summers, we'd take our little broad-beamed gilling-skiff (an antique from the 1920's) that was almost unsinkable, no motor... mind you... out on Weems Creek and down the Severn past parts of the academy. We'd sail right into the little harbor in downtown Annapolis, past a bunch of fancy yachts, tie up... get some cokes and ice-cream cones, hop back in our boat and sail home. I think it was usually in June or July, there would be a genuine Tall Ship sailing in and out of the Severn, down the Chesapeake and back again, to teach middies about seamanship. It was incredibly cool.

      I lived in Annapolis during some momentous times. It was just a short distance from D.C. and I remember the day JFK was inaugurated. It snowed buckets the night before and no one... NO one in D.C. knew how to drive in winter conditions. (BTW: Nothing has changed since then, either.) My aunt Mary Beth had been a Kennedy delegate (or something... I was only 11, so it was kinda foggy to me) and she'd flown in for the big event. She'd planned to visit us for a few days prior to the ceremonies and when the snow began to pile up, it looked like she was going to miss it all. Dad put chains on the old Ford Interceptor station wagon, threw some bags of sand over the rear axle in the "way-back" along with some shovels and heavy winter gear, and off they went. He got her there when almost nothing was moving along the roads.

      Less than a thousand days later, JFK was killed, and like the rest of America, I watched his funeral on a black and white TV as it took place. The most moving thing I remember about that was the Navy Hymn. Jackie had it sung in memory of her husband's heroic service in the South Pacific during WWII. (PT 109, you can look up the story.)

      We were church-going family, and the hymn was often sung at the Methodist Church when I was growing up, and naturally... it was also sung in the Chapel at the Academy at every service. Years later, when my dad passed away mom had it sung at his memorial service. He was not a Navy Veteran, (he'd attended the Citadel, and wanted to fly in the Army Air Corps) but he was a member of that greatest generation, and this was his favorite hymn.

      Naval Academy Glee Club Tribute to Pearl Harbor. , The Navy Hymn. - YouTube

      With that background, naturally... I HAD to join the Navy. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, I joined the Navy Nurse Corps and served for three years during the Vietnam War. It was an intense time, both good and bad, but most importantly, I was blessed to have met and married a Medical Officer. (Scandal!!!! I was an O-1 and he was an O-5!!!!)

      We had a 45 year marriage, two daughters, 5 grandkids (lots of wonderful dogs along the way, mostly Labradors) and we parted about a week ago. He passed away very suddenly, without a great deal of suffering. He'd been in good health but the doctors think he contracted some obscure virus that attacked his heart muscle and took his life within a matter of days. He got the finest care that anyone could. The doctors and nurses did everything right... it was just time for him to go to God. When I met Bill, he told me he loved practicing medicine and he was never going to retire. And he went out exactly the way he would have wanted.

      So, with my daughters, I've been thinking about his memorial. From what folks are saying, there may not be a church or funeral home chapel big enough to hold all the friends that want to say goodbye. No matter, we're going to have a beautiful service and I know that the final hymn we sing will be Eternal Father Strong to Save... whose arm doth bind the restless wave... Who bidst the mighty ocean deep, its own appointed limits keep. Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee... for those in peril on the sea. I know we'll have some military honors at the graveside and a dear friend of mine who has played with the local symphony will play taps for us.

      It's all good. Blessings from beginning to end. I've had more love than I could have ever earned. It's a good thing that love works just that way. Love just has to be given away, and my husband was as generous as any human being ever could be.

      God bless you all, from the two "micks". Jeannette McCann and Bill McHugh

    2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to TuMicks For This Useful Post:

      missy (12-26-2017), Scoutpout (01-03-2018)

    3. #2
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      Sorry for your loss. From the sound of it, you found yourself a good man, and had a good life with him before he was called home. Thank you both for your service. Peace and comfort be with you and your family during this difficult time.

    4. #3
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Oh my...I am so sorry for your loss. <3

    5. #4
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      Jeanette,
      My heart goes out to ye and ye family for ye loss o' Bill. A most beautiful tribute ye have written for him from ye heart. May God bring comfort to ye and all that loved Bill. My respect is his for his service rendered to our country. Eternal rest and Godspeed to ye Bill Mc Hugh.

      Most Respectfully,
      Mike 🍀
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    6. #5
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      My condolences. Thank you for sharing your story and tribute.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    7. #6
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      I'm so sorry. I hadn't realized you'd lost your husband. It sounds like you had a wonderful marriage to that lovely man. Your tribute brought tears to my eyes...for the (happy tears) love, not just the sadness.

      Good for you, Bill...you went out like you wanted to...Rest in Peace.
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    8. #7
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      So sorry for the loss of your dear husband and soul mate. What a wonderful tribute to him and to his (and your) Life. Bill, you picked the best lady to marry and raise a family with. Thank you both for your service to our great country and love to each other.

      Rest gently now Bill and keep helping those up in Heaven who grieve for us here just waiting to go home.
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    9. #8
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      Snowshoe's Avatar
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      Oh no, I'm so sorry. This is a hard time of year to lose someone close. I'm very sorry for your loss. So much to treasure and miss.

    10. #9
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      barry581's Avatar
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      Words escape me. I was shocked, saddened, and truly heartbroken to read this. My deepest condolences for your sudden and tragic loss. Jeanette I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    11. #10
      Senior Dog
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      So very sorry for your loss. May his memory be a blessing - it sounds like you two had a wonderful life together.
      Annette

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