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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bermuda and Beyond


Before we get to Bermuda I would like to tell you about the Veterans’ Get-Together on the cruise.  We have an old cruise buddy and veteran named Ron Jones and on his every cruise (he has done over 80) he hosts the Veterans.  Ron and I had agreed I could put together a commemorative table honoring the POW/MIA’s. The ship provided me with a small table, chair, glass and salt shaker. I brought the other items to complete the presentation. 

The vet group met at 16:15 in the Wheelhouse Bar.  In the past we normally have 10-20 at these meetings. This cruise there were more than 100.  Ron kicked off the proceedings by introducing me and I shared about the POW/MIA table and what the significance of each item on it.  Here it is for you:

The small table is put at a place of honor in front of the group, the chair is leaned against the table showing the absence of the POW/MIA from our group, the black napkin to show the sorrow we have for our absent comrade, an inverted glass represents the fact that he will not be toasting with us tonight,  a black vase to show that there is no happiness in his absence, a red rose represents the blood which he may have shed during and after his capture, a plate with lemon and salt represent the bitterness of separation, a yellow ribbon around the vase for hope that he or she will be with us once again. Many of the attendees took my handout on how to set up a POW/MIA table and will carry that tradition out to their respective groups.  “We will never forget!”

Ron then had the group come to attention and we all said the pledge of allegiance.  This gathering of veterans also had soldiers and airmen from Canada and England. Each veteran stated their name, their branch of service and where they were from. We had several WW2 vets and one was 91 years old. There were Korean War vets, Vietnam vets, and Iraq and Afghan vets. And, there was one active duty soldier. Princess provided a glass of champagne for all and we toasted our Vets, their spouses and the memory of all POW/MIA's. All in all it was a memorable time together.

We arrived in Bermuda and the Ruby docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard on the north end. Bermuda looks like a giant shrimp with a turned up tail. We had booked an inexpensive van tour around the Island. 71-year old Raymond was our guide and he gave us a rolling history and cultural description of Bermuda. For example, I did not know that Michael Douglas was from Bermuda. His family still has an estate there. Raymond took us around to the local “tourist” stop in the City of Hamilton.  We’re not shoppers so we just walked around for 30 minutes. I did meet another driver by the name of Cecil. He had on a hat that said “I love Jesus” so I asked him when and where he got to know the Lord. He was very happy to give me his testimony. 

Raymond took us back to the ship via some of the beaches of Bermuda and a park with a huge Banyon tree.  A Banyon tree has limbs that grow down to the ground, sprout roots and makes another tree. We arrived back at the Ruby Princess in time for lunch.  We left the island around 16:00 hrs (4PM).

Our days on board are spend enjoying the many activities available on the ship. We are two days out from Lisbon, Portugal when I will give you another update. Tonight we meet the Captain!

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