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Buffalo’s NAVY Week Reveals The True Celebrities

Last Friday, I had a chance to take a walk around NAVY Week in Downtown Buffalo along the waterfront. Besides the fact that it was gorgeous day, I am so glad I decided to wander that way and take a tour of the ships and meet some of the dedicated NAVY crews.

Just walking around the ships made me feel a bit safer. Knowing that we have such amazing machinery that is available to be deployed to protect us around the world is a pretty cool thing. When I walked through the USS Sullivans and Little Rock, reading the stories and seeing the photos of the places these ships had been was awe inspiring to say the least. However, seeing the beds the men and women had to sleep in and the tight quarters they work in made me pretty confident that I could never do what they do.

Both of the ships that we walked through were WW2 era ships and I couldn’t help but think about who served on these ships and what they were like. I mean every single sailor on board had some sort of story. They left loved ones behind often for months. The thing that would be most difficult to conceive these days is how they survived with no direct contact to loved ones like we have today. They had to wait for letters to arrive to find out what we get on Tweets, Texts and Facebook messages and emails these days. I bet I would be homesick in a day!!

No doubt I was filled with pride in my country and these brave men and women that served on these ships and those that serve today. The one thing that hit me most of all was a thought I had as we were leaving the ships. There were NAVY MP’s keeping an eye on the ships and the people as we walked around. There were plenty of officers walking around and sailors to talk to. But most people I saw, me included were taking pictures of the ships, the helicopters and such. No one that I saw bothered to get a photo with a sailor, MP or Officer. I have been thinking about it since I left.

We wait in line for meet and greets. Try to get stars to retweet us an go out of our way to try to get a glance, autograph or shout out from music stars, actors and professional athletes. If one of these celebrities was to pass you on the street, you probably would notice them right away. Yet when we pass by service men and women in uniform, most people don’t give them a second thought. Sure, in airports we may applaud a group of them. But how about individually? I feel bad about not making an effort to talk to one or two of these true heroes.  These men and women have no clue who I am, or you are or who most of the people in this country are. Yet they sail away to defend us no matter what. They don’t get the accolades they should for being away from loved ones on a ship for months. It was a true eye opening experience. Not only did I learn a lot about history during my visit to NAVY Week, I learned more about who deserves our respect and attention.

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