On November 7, 2014 my husband Rob McClellan retired from the US Navy after faithfully serving our country for 20 years. I, along with my children were some of his guest speakers. I want my children to look back and remember that day with every detail that they could. So, on this day, Veterans Day, I though it appropriate to document the words that I wrote for him. Although I wrote this for Rob, this message is true for most military families. This is for you. There are no words great enough to express my gratitude for all those who serve. ( You can also click on the recorded version below)
First off, I’d like to say congratulations to my husband on his retirement and for his 20 years of service. I’d also like to thank all of our family and friends that have made the long journey to get here to witness todays events.
It also happens to be Rob and I’s 10 year wedding anniversary. So today marks a very special time in our lives for many reasons. On that note, I’d like to talk about the meaning of love and it’s relationship to many different things.
I’ve heard it said that love is exciting and thrilling, and it can be for certain, but many people think that when that feeling fades— it’s time to move on. Our culture is so centered on pleasure, that if something makes you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable, we are programed to quit and move on. That is not the case with Rob.
My husband joined the US Navy as a young man 20 years ago. When most college boys were getting drunk at frat parties, Rob was thinking about how he could serve his country, and be a part of something larger than himself. I’d like to explain to you the meaning of love according to my husband. Love for him, is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person or circumstances.
Don’t get me wrong, he adores exciting and thrilling, just like most of us do, he did, after all become a Deep Sea Diver– but, as with all things, the thrills are fleeting, temporary, and the exception not the rule. As we grow in our careers and in our lives, we are called to take on different, often times boring, and frustrating tasks. — These are the moments when commitment is tested, pushed and sometimes broken.
How someone reacts under these circumstances can be a testament of their devotion. Love is stable, it takes perseverance, a willingness to let go of your ego, and above all… it takes forgiveness– that is of course if your not dealing with NMCI or Explorer 7– I’ve heard that those two are near impossible to forgive. That’s an inside joke.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Rob loves his country, he remained loyal and served the US Navy for more than half of his life, but he showed equal if not greater love to us…his family. He has served, provided for, and nurtured us over this past decade in a way that I have never known.
Although the greatest adventures in my life have been with Rob, it hasn’t been all thrills and excitement either. Being a military family takes it’s toll on even the strongest of couples. Several moves across the country with small children, can be a daunting task. There were a few times that I wanted to quit, but Rob courageously, and patiently, held my hand, and loved me during those dark moments. With each struggle, we became stronger, more connected, and came out with a deeper appreciation for one another.
Being in the military can push your family to the edge, but I assure you, it has made us a much stronger family, more reliant on one another, and better people, than if we had not had this experience—- and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Our time in the Navy has not been unlike the seas it protects. There have been storms that created very rough waves, some doldrums, and a few epic waves of pure bliss. Through all of this, Rob and I have learned that crawling out onto the safe beach was simply not an option— and that being miserable out at sea wasn’t for us either– instead over the past decade, we learned to become really good surfers, and gracefully accept the variety of waves that life has thrown at us.
So on this day, your Retirement and our Anniversary I want to say thank you Rob McClellan— thank you for loving your country, your family, and most of all for showing me what TRUE love really is. It’s time to get out of this ocean, and relax on a safe beach for awhile!