It is powerful to be a part of a retirement with full honors - two squadrons, the band, Old Glory and beautiful words by the CO and him.
As a chaplain, I get to bless retiring service members.I work hard to choose my words carefully as I only get one shot at elevating the moment into sacred space.
Fair winds and following seas, MSgt. You earned it.
Below is my invocation for MSgt:
Let us pray.
You have taught us that when friends part ways, they do so with blessings on their lips. In following Your example, Lord, we invoke Your name on behalf of MSgt Rieper.
For 25 years, MSgt Rieper has served You faithfully, from Okinawa to the US, around the globe and back again. Bless him with a smooth transition, filled with meaningful moments.
Lord, MSgt Rieper went where he was told, regardless of the danger. He was in the Arabian Gulf, Iwakuni, Iraq, Afghanistan. Bless him with healing from all the wounds only can You see.
MSgt has not only had the privilege of serving You but to our POTUS as well. Bless him that when he reflects back on his time in the Corps, he will remember the highlights and the lowlights fade.
God, as You are our life-giver, MSgt has been our life-sustainer. He has fed so many Marines and Sailors that he has probably lost count. He has minded Your flock and done so with genuine love for others. Bless him that he is cared for as he cared for so many. Bless him through people he does not know, just as his actions cared for so many he did not know.
Source of strength, the Marine Corps bestowed upon Msgt the status of Centurion because of his ability to guide others on their journey into the Corps. Lord, escort him through the next stage of his life, that he may be a leader, where ever he It chooses.
And God, if we can be so bold, we ask that You bless the fruits of his labor, as he has sown the seeds of honor, courage and commitment these last 25 years.
And to that, we all say, Amen.
Old Glory performed by his Mess Hall Marines as they passed him his retirement flag.