This Friday I had the pleasure of documenting the retirement of Chief Master Sergeant Lori Ellen Price Sinclair after 30 years of dutiful service in the United States Air Force, currently serving in the 6th Medical Group, 6th Air Mobility Wing. Lori has been spreading the word about me and is the reason I have shot a handful of retirement ceremonies this year. She originally saw my work when I put together a multimedia slideshow documenting the Flag Day ceremony her Group participated in. You can read my blog post about that slideshow here and you can view the show here.
After seeing the Flag Day slideshow she requested I do something similar for her retirement ceremony. A small version has been inserted above. A large version can be viewed here.
It is always an honor to shoot a military retirement ceremony. The Honor Guard, the Flag Folding, the Flag Passing; it's all very sacred and powerful. Not to mention this ceremony was held on the 66th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Like weddings, retirement ceremonies are full of emotion, tradition, ceremony and family. And talk about family! They came from all over to support her and to help celebrate. There must have been 50 family members there.
The flag begins with an Airman Basic and is passed on through the ranks. Highlights from CMSgt. Sinclair's career are read at the corresponding rank level until the flag reaches another CMSgt. at which point the flag is presented to the retiree.
It can be an emotional ride to hear a narrator sum up the last 30 years of your life. From dorm fires, to best friends, to rescues at sea. From various state in the U.S. to Europe and beyond, to returning home for her last duty assignment here in Tampa, FL.
A shadow box is routinely given to the retiree that hold various items meant to remind them of their service. There is nothing routine about this shadow box, though. In the audio slideshow, you can the the "ooohs" and "aaahs" from the crowd as it was brought out.
This group shot represents about half of the family and friends there. And that doesn't include the folks that came from on base. Extra chairs were brought in there was still a standing contingent in the back.
CMSgt. Sinclair has had a long and successful career with the USAF. It was my pleasure and honor to document this special occasion for her and her family.
Lori, I wish you the best of luck in whatever comes next. I thank you and your family for doing so much to preserve the integrity and character of this country.