My husband and I had the honor of attending the most patriotic of events last night. Lieutenant Joseph B. Abeyta of the United States Coast Guard (my husband's second cousin's husband, who we know as "Bert") took his first official post command at the Coast Guard Station in Miami Beach. We were invited to attend his Change of Command ceremony. Can you think of a more appropriate way to celebrate the 4th of July....Independence Day? I thought it was perfect!
We arrived in Miami about an hour early and drove down by South Beach. It was packed...no surprise for a holiday weekend. The sights, as always, did not disappoint. We rolled down the windows to take in all the music being played at the road-side restaurants. Beautiful art deco designs were everywhere. I hadn't been down there in a few years, so I whipped out the camera and played tourist. Check out the pics.
Mango's is owned by Gloria Estefan and her husband. It was jamming!
This was once a hotel. Gianni Versace bought it and turned it into his home. It is right on the main drag of South Beach on Ocean Drive. He was shot one morning, after having gone for his morning coffee, right on these front steps of his house. For a long time, the blood stains remained as a reminder. So sad. It is now owned by his sister, who has turned it back into a hotel. It is really beautiful property.
I told you there were "sights" to be seen.
Wonder how they keep these hedges trimmed?
Art deco styling at its best. Just beautiful.
Okay, time to get to the ceremony. I was awestruck!
That is Lieutenant Bert on the left. We are under a large tent, it was raining, about 85 degrees, and very, very humid and sticky. These gentlemen must have been baking in their dress whites, but they did not flinch.
After several speeches, Lieutenant Corbett (on the right) hands off command to Lieutenant Abeyta (on the left). The official Change of Command.
These are just a few of the men and women who will serve under Bert. These young people put their lives on the line for us by patrolling the waters off the coast of Florida protecting us from pirates (yes, they really exist), drug traffickers, and other illegals. Other duties include monitoring controlled burns being used on NCIS Miami and Burn Notice, checking out every flare fired from the water (can you imagine how busy this weekend will be?), and every distress call in any kind of weather (even a hurricane). This post is one of the busiest in the area as this is the waterway corridor often entered by boat people fleeing their homelands and drug traffickers. There was an "on duty" crew sitting in another area who were ready in a seconds notice if a call were to come in while the ceremony was going on. I was half-wishing for something ever so minor to be called in just to watch them do their thing. I was honored to be in the presence of these men and women who keep us safe. We really will never know all that they do. I'm proud of myself for not crying through the entire thing. That is my usual reaction to being so close to such patriotism. I'm a sap....what can I say?
A reception followed at the Miami Yacht Club. This was the cake to honor the outgoing commanding officer. At this point in the evening, our own Lieutenant Joseph B. Abeyta of the United States Coast Guard is in command! We wish you a successful stay in charge of our shores. We feel safer already! Godspeed.
And certainly not to be forgotten....welcome back to Florida cousin Layla (Bert's wife), daughters Savannah and Madisen, and son Jackson. We look forward to your presence at family events very soon.
Thank you forefathers and all the men and women who keep us independent every day.
Enjoy a most special and wonderful Fourth of July!!