I have personally never seen a sailor run from danger. The courage component of our creed is alive and well. Yet I have seen sailors scurry for cover like roaches when the lights come on—not in the face of hostile fire, or from the raging flames of a fuel fire, but at the sound of a bugle.
Twice a day on ships and stations the world over, the Navy performs an age-old ritual. It is one that makes our profession different from most others, serves as a link to our heritage, and is a visible and audible tribute to the values we are prepared to defend, even to our own demise. I am referring, of course, to the morning and evening colors ceremonies.
Despite the importance and distinction of this tradition, all too often I see sailors of all ranks rushing indoors at the sound of First Call. In a complete reversal of the cavalry charge—when our counterparts in that other service charged into battle to the inspiring call of a bugle—these modern-day warriors flee at the sound of that same instrument, as though it were warning of an incoming missile instead of announcing an imminent celebration, the raising of our flag.