Everyone knows she was a fighting ship - a picket - the eyes and ears of the fleet, its first line of defense. Her mission: detect and destroy.
But she was more than that. Much, much more.
She was many things to many people, but to most of us she was our home away from home, and our refuge in a foreign port.
She took us away from our families and loved ones - off to places wed only dreamt of - across the big waters.
She showed us Gods majesty, power and love. The awesome power of a hurricane, the brilliance of a sunrise on a calm sea, the absolute tranquillity of a sunset, the magnificence of a night filled with stars that reach from one horizon to the other. She let us know how small we are in the universe.
She taught us respect and discipline - for if you didnt respect her rules, and discipline yourself to follow them, she would cast you into the sea. But if you proved worthy, she would protect you from all the elements had to offer.
She took green, untested kids, who knew nothing of the world outside their towns or neighborhoods, and turned them into men. Men who could work together and fight together, men who could do their jobs with precision - and who earned the right to become members of her crew. She helped us form bonds that will never be broken.
She taught us by example: old sea dogs teaching young seamen, old officers teaching young ensigns.
She showed us other lands and other peoples. She let us see for ourselves how lucky we are to be Americans - and to live in a land of freedom. She taught us Patriotism and Pride. And then she brought us home again.
She came through every enemy engagement untouched. It took the country she served so well to finally send her to the bottom. We who served her trust that Old Glory was dipped as she and her noble sisters were sent to their final resting places.
May her spirit live on in us. To you, Dear Robbie, rest in peace. And to those of your crews who no longer remain among us, may you walk her silent decks on calm seas.
Dedicated to all of the
men who ever served on her
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