I met the NFL Super Bowl winning quarterback, Ken Stabler for the first time when I was the Force Master Chief. He was the guest of honor at a banquet on the USS Mobile Bay in Pascagoula. He was a very personable man and handled the crowd of admiring sailors with class. He passed his Super Bowl ring to me and let me see it, up close! He was a real gentleman.
A few years later, I was retired from active duty and working for FTSCLANT. I was flying out of Mobile airport and I ran into Ken Stabler again. He was sitting alone, quietly reading the news paper at an abandoned gate, waiting for his flight. I walked over to him and introduced myself, bringing that event on the USS Mobile Bay back to his memory. He said he remembered the event and me, and was very congenial again. I only spent a few minutes talking to him because I respect the privacy of celebrities and did not want to be rude or intrusive. As we parted company with a hand shake, he said to me; "Thanks for remembering me." That seemed very strange to me. Who could forget a Super Bowl quarterback who was also a TV sport personality. Impossible!!
Now, I understand Mr. Stabler. As we fade from our professions, as we are replaced by younger talent, as our long time friends retire or pass on, there are fewer folks to remember what we did, our victories and our defeats. What we did no longer matters because it has been done, quicker, better, cheaper, than we did it! We are yesterday's news. Yet, sometimes, I see a friendly face in the crowd, and that individual remembers me. It makes me feel important, all over again. Thanks for remembering me!