When I was the Force Master Chief for SURFLANT, I did a Navy event with Ken Stabler, the great quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. He is a real gentlemen and a supporter of our Military. He is a giant of a man. He looked so small on TV!! He even passed his SUPER BOWL ring around so all could see and feel it. It was quite a day.
A few years later, when I was a Tech Rep for NAVSEACENLANT, I ran into Mr. Stabler at the Mobile airport. He was sitting quietly, at an empty gate, alone, waiting for his flight. I walked over to him and introduced myself by way of my recollection of that special day he and I represented the Navy. He remembered the event and we chatted a few minutes. Then I wanted to give him back his quiet corner, so I made my apologies and prepared to depart. He shook my hand and said: "Thanks for remembering me." At the time, I thought that was a strange comment. He was a SUPERBOWL winning quarterback. He played for Bear Bryant in college. He was on television as as football analyst! How could anyone forget him?
Last week, I called an old friend's wife. He has been gone for ten years. I still miss him and I should call his widow more often. After we had a long conversation, catching up on each others lives, I was preparing to hang up and she said; "You are the only one of Jim's Navy friends that keep in touch with me." What a sad commentary.
Call an old shipmate, friend, or friends widow today. Visit them if you can. Send them a hand written letter, or a card. Let them know they are not forgotten.