Hello September 8th.  The memories you bring me are profound to say the least.  Today, 25 years ago, a skinny, 18 year old kid left home and joined The United States Navy.  The changes that lay ahead for him were extremely exciting, heartbreaking and defining.  Visiting places in the country such as New York, Hawaii, Seattle, San Francisco and living in beautiful San Diego to losing friends and students in horrible incidents.  Seeing the world and countries such as Japan, Korea, Philipines, Singapore, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, Guatamala, Panama, St. Kitts, Costa Rica and traversing The Panama Canal. 
I saw great moments and I saw horrible moments.  The excitement as I was chosen to attend Aircrew and SAR Training and my first flight in a SH-60B Seahawk with HSL-41.  Graduating and earning my "Wings of Gold" and going to HSL-43.  My friend and room mate being killed in a helicopter crash.  Going overseas to serve in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and seeing a lot of interesting and sobering things.  Remembering the moment I broke 1000 hours in an SH-60B. It was March 13th 1992.  Yes that was Friday the 13th so I feel that day has always been a lucky day and a lucky number.  Spending time in Vancouver and Hawaii with good friends and mates and partying ALL the time in Honolulu and Waikiki and booze cruises and late night beach parties and drinking all night and sleeping all day in a van and getting up and flying.  Going to Central and South America for Counter Narcotic Operations and riding "The Ditch" and partying it up on a remote tropical island in the Carribean.  Finishing my time at HSL-43 and becoming an Instructor for HSL-41 and damn good at it.  Starting school again and finally finishing my Creative Writing Degree.  Having issues with migraines and getting out of the Navy and seeing one of my favorite students killed in a helicopter crash.  Leaving my favorite city of San Diego after nearly 12 years and moving back to St. Petersburg Florida.
Another September 8th moment of starting school again at ITT.  It was the start of another life for me where I was given the best thing I could ever receive in my son, Zachary.  He influenced me to strive harder and do more than most people because I was determined to give him the best I possibly could.  I graduated from school and went to work for Intel in Portland, Oregon and then moved to my location in Colorado Springs, Colorado where I spent the next 2 years.  I ended up coming back to St. Petersburg working for The St. Petersburg Times and left there after almost 6 years to go to Florida Bank.  After getting laid off there, I left the country to work in Afghanistan where I managed to visit Germany, Dubai, Turkey, Ireland and England.  I left Afghanistan  to come to Iraq am looking forward to completing my time here and beginning the move towards a "normal" life and getting a start on living for each day.
So while not everything occured on September 8th, two MAJOR points in my life did occur and made an impact that would ultimately change my life.  So to September 8th, I raise my Guinness and tip it to you.  Thank you.