Station Munro 10th Anniversary Closing Ceremony Remarks
SCPO Shadow McConach:
Thank you, all, for joining us for the Closing Ceremony of the 10th Anniversary of the Station Munro.
This weekend has, hopefully, proved educational to those that attended and enjoyable!
And, if that did occur, it is mainly because of our speaker, Fitzwilliam Darcy.
He was tasked with reopening Station Munro, and he did. To everyone’s benefit.
Please, help me welcome him to the podium
MCPO Fitzwilliam Darcy:
Thank you all for coming today
Thank you everyone. Being CO of Munro was the highlight, and best job I had in this group, and I genuinely say that.
When asked to deliver a speech for today, I felt deeply honored to return home here.
But, I knew I could not write anything better than a speech I gave for our Veterans Day last year. I present it again now, slightly revised:
So here it is:
I want to tell the story of a World War II veteran, his family, and his legacy. In late 2000, a World War II veteran was dying from cancer.
He knew he was facing the end, and he sought to reach out, in his own way, to his family members, especially his grandchildren.
That Christmas, he bought one of his grandsons a camera that cost over $400 USD. The grandson was perplexed why his dying grandfather would spend so much on a present for just one grandchild, on what was probably his last Christmas. His parents explained it as simply, “he does not want to be forgotten.”
As his health got worse, his grandson knew the end was getting even closer, but he did not visit his dying grandfather.
This grandson was a senior in high school, and wanted to have fun. He did not want to be faced with the realities of life.
The grandson paid one visit to the veteran, but e only visited because he instinctively knew it would be his last opportunity. By then, the veteran was a frail old man confined to a small room in a nursing home. It was an awkward encounter for the grandson, and he was eager and quick to leave.
The funeral was held on a rainy Thursday afternoon in February 2001. By then, the magnitude of it had finally struck the young man.
As he went to the funeral, he was overcome by deep guilt and self-hate for trying to put the dying veteran out of his life. Inside, he was a hollow shell.
As he went through the range of emotions, he told himself “men don’t cry.” He rushed to the hearse to be a pallbearer- he felt it was the least he could do at this point. To his amazement, he was able to hold his emotions in.
Many of you who know me know I am a shy individual. But I’m also a private person, and I usually try to bottle things up.
I will probably regret opening up like this later today. But I was that grandson.
It took me a year to find the courage to visit my grandfather’s grave, and I broke down when I did. Every now and then though, I still regret the actions of my youth as my dying grandfather tried to reach out to me. But I thought I had put it all behind me.
In my four years at Munro, I realized it was not behind me.
Munro made me curious about my grandfather’s service. Only in my years at Munro, I had finally asked my father more details on what my grandfather did in WWII. What I heard amazes me.
He was present at the living hell that was Anzio, where he spent those months driving a jeep full of ammunition while under constant fire.
It was there that he watched his best friend get blown up.
Later, he rode in a landing craft, as part of the first wave of the invasion of southern France. I understand now, why he was more silent about his service in the war than my other grandfather.
Some of what we do at Munro is what he did, and I only know that now, and it always moved me.
It is only now, because of Munro, that I realize that that camera was not a present, but my grandfather’s last Christmas wish- to not be forgotten. Every day I was here, I felt I was fulfilling his wish.
Many in SLCG have remarked how dedicated I was to my billet as CO. This is part of the reason.
Munro provided me a way to atone to myself the sins of my youth.
And I know some don’t think Munro is unimportant, or is of low priority. Everyone is entitled their opinions.
But I know I am not the only one who has been filled by something here. I saw daily in Munro crew, who were always enthusiastic in turnout when we hosted tour groups.
I have seen it in ADM Blackwell, who one day while up here with me, opened up about what her father saw in the war. I have seen it in RDML Rejan, who was overcome when we named our airfield here after where his father served.
And I have seen it in the Honor Guard, when they eagerly wanted to help us pay tribute to our namesake in a past memorial, and this weekend.
Munro does not have many awards. Many in SLCG try to collect ribbons for their ribbon holder. Munro’s most important ribbons are ones you cannot see, but they stay with you after you log off. Their only requirement is having an open heart.
They are the ones you wear inside your heart, not on your chest Here, at Munro, every day is Veterans Day.
When I originally gave this speech at our Veterans Day event last November 17, some people asked me why we didn’t do it on November 11. I always answered the same- at Munro, every day is Veterans Day. Today is.
So is September 14, July 22, or any other random day of the year.
Munro made me believe that if we set aside only one day out of the year to honor our veterans, we are not doing them enough of a service.
By only remembering veterans once a year, we are neglecting them
So I want to thank you all for coming here this weekend. You are not just coming here to celebrate Munro, but by being here today, you are honoring those who defeated evil 75 years ago, just as we must today
That is all I have
Thank you all very much
Thank you, so very much, for those words. They touch the heart, and make us a better person.
Station Munro looks forward to see you often!.
This concludes the 10th Anniversary Ceremony. We will dismiss for a Flotilla, leaving from Station Munro.
lease IM me, if you are going to take part!!.
Thank you, all, for being here today, and for your participation over this weekend. MCPO Adili Roge… I owe you a debt that I can never repay. Thank you.
Ceremony ended with 21-gun Salute and playing of Taps by Honor guard.
Then the participants completed a 8-ship flotilla out of Station Munro and sailed around the Jeogeot Gulf.
Written by: Captain Sophie Sharkfin