On Wednesday, the Board of Directors and several key supporters ventured to Washington DC for the kick-off reception of the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemorations. The event, hosted by the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History in front of the original Star Spangled Banner (Kenneth E. Behring Center) featured guest speakers Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Dr. Jose Fuentes, Chairman of OpSail. The event lasted from 7 to 9 pm and was capped off by libations at the Old Ebbet Grill with the Navy Commemorations Office and OpSail staff a few blocks away.
Photos of the event have been posted on Facebook - both the official photos, here, but also the blooper reel on my personal page as well. Some faces have been blurred to protect the innocent.
The NHS team was received very graciously by Secretary Mabus, who took a few minutes to share with me a few recollections of his own sea duty as a surface warfare officer.
Of the event, I have to say it was a great time. If for nothing else, seeing so many NHS members, supporters and donors turned out, sporting our flashy HORNET 1812-2012 lapel pins, was absolutely inspiring. Because while the USS HORNET Project has been built on a hard-nosed, very serious business like approach, it's rare that the people who are helping to forge and create it actually kick back and just enjoy eachother's company. We really do have a great team, and I was exceptionally proud to be there with you all.
I'm tired. And not like, eh I think I'll hit the snooze tired - I ache from head to toe, and I'm starting to take on a zombie-like way of moving about. So many late nights and early mornings - subsiding on about 5 hours of sleep a night at best and rolling straight from one thing into another. Like life at sea, it's starting to take its toll, and I'm reminded of the late, great Dodo Green - jazz singer from Buffalo who kept performing at the world famous Anchor Bar (home of the chicken wing) right up until the end. She used to start almost every set with a casual "I'm getting too old for this s&!t." I hear you. But I know why you kept going - it's hard to give up the charge. I've been on shore duty now for two years and I've still not learned to settle back. I've transitioned from bridge watch and the regular, plodding hum of machinery to endless conference calls and the sound of my own keystrokes clicking away.
And deep down, I'm loving every minute of it.