"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Hands to Colors

>> Saturday, May 11, 2013

            Raising flags every morning is one of those important shipboard tasks that never crosses the mind of an average lands woman like me. I don’t remember the first time I hauled a flag up by its halyard as eight bells were struck before breakfast. I don’t recall the first time I watched the sun with anticipation waiting to strike the New England flag in tandem with my classmate tending the other flags at the moment the sun dipped below the horizon. I don’t recall the day or time, but I remember how abstract the idea of setting and striking flags was when a crewmember told me of its importance. I accepted the idea without realizing until later what doing such a seemingly minor and simple job means on a ship. After living aboard the Harvey Gamage for just shy of three months, a day doesn’t go by in which we don’t discuss and work on our flag handling procedure. Flags are symbols for nations, states, vessels, information and symbols of the care we take of our ship. No one but us will see our sole (floor) and its state of cleanliness; no one knows how the galley is stowed save those aboard Gamage. But each morning and evening as we raise and lower our flags, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we care about our ship and her dignity, her crew and the world outside.

Mira Watkins Brown


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