Today is the day I have been waiting for a long time, and it is both sad and joyous because it is time to say goodbye to something extremely important to me, my White Hat. The journey to come to this moment was challenging, and I want to thank everyone who helped me and believed in me: my parents, family, friends, and, last but not least, my navy family. I want to give special acknowledgments to my fellow petty officers. Their support and the sense of comradery born out of years of duty together helped me through the most difficult moments in my navy career.
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The White Hat is a symbol of duty, honor, and of the Navy itself. To wear it is to belong to an elite group of people and to represent that group to the world. In my first years of service, I was so scared of losing this hat or letting it get dirty that the first thing I did in the morning was to tend to it. Wearing and caring for my White Hat was my first duty as an officer of the Navy, and it is with a heavy heart that I have to say goodbye to it today. It is a part of me, and it represents all the challenges we have passed together since I first donned it. Although I wish I could hold on to it for a while longer, the future cannot be postponed, and as I lay down my White Hat, I prepare myself for new trials, duties, and responsibilities. I prepare myself for new challenges that I know I will be able to overcome because I wore this hat once. This is a goodbye to my White Hat, and it is a thank you.