On Tuesday, Dave and I had the honor to attend the memorial service for PS1 Xavier Martin, FC1 Gary Rehm Jr., GM2 Noe Hernandez, FC2 Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, YN3 Shingo Alexander Douglass, STG3 Ngoc Truong Huynh, and GMSN Dakota Kyle Rigsby. They were the seven sailors who were killed when the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant ship collided off the coast of Japan on Saturday, June 17th, 2017. Please click on the embedded link for the Navy Times article about the service.
The venue for the memorial service couldn’t hold the entire grieving Navy family of the Yokosuka Naval Base. Those who weren’t able to attend the service, lined the streets of the base along the route the crew and family members would take to transit from the base Chapel to the Theater. It was an amazing display of solidarity and support. The Line of Honor demonstrated how the Navy family comes together when faced with tradegy, to honor fallen heroes and support their families.
On a more personnal level, I found the service to be a beautiful tribute and heartbreaking. Crew members of the USS Fitzgerald spoke of their lost shipmates. They shared stories about their friends. Their memories made us smile and together we cried for their loss. I like to think it was healing for the family members to hear about how loved their sailor was by so many. Flags were folded for each sailor and presented to their respective family member. To me, those specific flags represent the honor, courage, and commitment of the Sailor’s service. As well as, a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice they made in order for their ship and shipmates to return safely to Yokosuka.
2017 is continuing to remind me life is precious and life should be cherished. I send my love to you from Japan. Although we are far apart, you always remain in my heart. XOXO