Friday, February 10, 2017

The Second Life Coast Guard Museum Opening Ceremony

By Bixyl Shuftan

On February 4 at 10 AM, the Second Life Coast Guard held a ceremony to open their new museum in the Qlar Fell sim. Much of the seating was in the adjacent Moonberry sim next door to increase the potential size of the audience. (longtime readers may remember the sim as the first home of the longtime Newser's sponsor, the Podex Exchange). The event was attended by a few dozen people.

Several seats reserved for honored guests, "Sir, Ma'am, ADML Laxness requests your presence in the red seats.  You are two of our honored guests today. Please, follow me." Some of the people hadn't seen one another in a while, and friendly greetings were exchanged. Ken Whitfield (Keneth80 Whitfield), one of the command staff, told the crowd, "Good afternoon everyone.  We still have a lot of people arriving so we ask your indulgence as we hold the house for a few more minutes.  Also, if those of you in the back in Moonberry would like to move forward that would be great.  Thank you for you all for being here and we should begin our program shortly."

Allian Blackwell (Allian Resident) started the ceremony, stepping up to the podium and speaking, "Good day, honored guests, guardians and the SL Community.  I would like to thank you on behalf of all SL Coast Guard for joining us today on a very momentous time in our history. We are so happy to share our history in our museum with you and the whole SL Community.  Welcome to the grand opening of the SL Coast Guard Museum Opening today. I am Vice Admiral Allian Blackwell, Vice Commandant of the SL Coast Guard.  I am honored to speak with you today on behalf of a group that I love. The museum has been a venture over a year in the making.  The hard work of our group in gathering historical information and their talents in bringing it to all of us.  Our heartfelt gratitude goes to them for their creative efforts and dedicated work in making this museum possible."

The Vice Admiral concluded, "I would like to first introduce to you today our founder, our leader and our Commandant, Sanstrom Laxness.  I will now turn this over to Admiral Laxness.  Sir, the deck is yours." She got off the podium, and the Commandant took his place, "Thank you Admiral Blackwell. Good Afternoon. To our honored guest, ElBag Gable, Mark Twain White, Members of the press, Alliance Members, Guardians and Family members. I thank you all very much for being here today on the wonderful occasion. I wonder if you and those assembled here can understand just exactly the mixed emotions that I'm feeling right now, having founded this group back in 2005, It seems a long time ago. But it is wonderful to be here today for the men and women of the SL Coast Guard, one of Second Life’s oldest groups. Throughout its long and remarkable history, the SL Coast Guard has adapted itself to many critically important missions. But throughout it’s entire history, the SL Coast Guard has maintained one great mission, the core mission of the group: safe boating education.

"Most of you have not been around to remember, but I recall our beginnings of the olden days of high prims, before mesh was even thought of. Our first days inside a one room cinder block building with just a few desk and chairs; no boats, no ships, no helicopters, airplanes or even uniforms. The contributions those of you here have made to this group is further evidence of the strength and flexibility of your service to and on behalf of this group. The work you do every day is not always easy in a virtual world. And, believe me, each one of you is helping to write another glorious page in the history of the SL Coast Guard. Each one of you is making a personal contribution to this group.

"I hope all of you here know the tremendous difference the efforts and contributions of our donors are making not only in the group but throughout SL. Without their efforts, these stations, this HQ building and this museum would be only be a memory or at least much smaller part of our group. I'm pleased to be able to say that our group and it’s many capabilities will continue to be further enhanced by the dedication of not only our members but our donors as well, and it's due in no small part to your dedication and sacrifice that this group will continue to thrive.

"And I want to take a moment to recognize one of our many donors for the services rendered to the group by hosting not only our headquarters building but our new museum. Without yours and our many other donors the mission of this group would be that much harder to accomplish." The commandant gestured toward a man in the audience, "Mr. Elbag Gable, if you would be so kind to join me, we have a small gift for you." The man got up and went over, "This is unexpected." Admiral Sanstrom gestured to a rectangular object covered with a black cloth, "For your contribution for our group, your kindness and generosity, we thank you sir. This oil painting is for your home or office from us." The cloth was pulled back, revealing a painting of a Coast Guard cutter and helicopter in front of a lighthouse. The crowd applauded. Elbag exclaimed, "Oh goodness this is lovely.  We will hang it in our home for sure.  Brenda is bound to have a place to put it I am sure (chuckle). Thank you all very much. I am honoured."

The commandant concluded, "At this time, I’ll turn the deck back over to Vice Admiral Blackwell for continuation of our ceremonies. God bless each of you, and keep up the good work. Thank you." He then stepped down, and Allian came back over, "Thank you Sir. In the SL Coast Guard when you graduate you receive a call sign.  It is related to your number of graduated.  Admiral Laxness is 001.  I would now like to introduce to you 002. Please welcome Rear Admiral RJ Kikuchiyo, or as he is known ‘Lighthouse Keeper’.  Admiral Kikchiuyo, the deck is yours."

RJ Kikuchiyo stepped up to the podium, "Thank you Vice Admiral Blackwell. And thank you members of the SLCG and supporters, friends and family. I can only underscore what Admiral Laxness has said, and relate to you, at the risk of sounding a bit senile, a personal anecdote. In a nearly mythologic age, the SLCG was a small but dedicated group, dedicating our time here to the mission. I and a handful of volunteers made it our duty to perform basic safe boating public advisory and sim litter patrol (chuckle). In this time we met a crisis and an opportunity when many of our founding members were leaving SL, for personal reasons, I was given the opportunity to hold the role of group owner, and keeper of the light, so to speak.

"When that responsibility came, I was ready. I was willing. I was duty-bound.  Every day, we as SLCG are given the responsibility to represent the group. It is an honor that I share but I also protect. I feel like we can greet every day as an opportunity to do a great service to this place and for each other. And I know that this will continue in the hands of members like you.

"Thank you for letting me ramble. I will happily take a seat and enjoy today's events." RJ stepped down as the audience applauded, "Bravo, well said." Allian came back up to introduce the next speaker, "The creation of the museum and its curator is our own Lieutenant Commander Pier Cukor, excuse me, Commander Cukor, my bad.  He took on this task and has been tirelessly working on the museum for over a year now. I would like to invite CDR Cukor up to speak to you. CDR Cukor the deck is yours."

PierG Cukor came up to the podium, "Thank you, Admiral. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests, admirals, fellow officers, enlisted guardians. Professor Antonio Paolucci, former director of Vatican Museums in Rome, used to say 'a museum is like a window, opened into the past.' While he was talking about a museum which oldest items date well before the Christian Era, the SLCG museum we are here to inaugurate today holds items which are way more recent. Yet, in Second Life, time flows faster than our normal everyday real life, and a notecard, or a ship model made in 2005 do have the flavor of age. In this museum, as small as it is, I have arranged exhibits in order to show our past, and testify our present. In fact, knowing that time flies fast, I wish to give who will follow in our path an example of what we did, how we did it, and what tools we used. Last, but absolutely not least..... I said 'I have arranged...,'  Yes, I arranged the mass of material that most of the guardians of SLCG gave me when I asked them. I was given items, old crafts, planes, old memo notecards, and then a ton of pictures. Apparently we have been shooting pictures on every event, from the humblest patrol to big crowd gathering ones. I tried my best to select the more representative ones, but I would have liked to place them all on the walls of the museum, if only space allowed. So, what you will see here is truly a work of many individuals, a shared task, a contributing effort to make something lasting, and meaningful. Thank you for coming, and for honouring us of your presence."

PierG stepped down to much applause by the aidence, and Allian came up briefly for the next introduction, "As we look to the future of SL Coast Guard.  We wanted someone to speak today that is part of the SL Coast Guard to have them say a few words about the SL Coast Guard. I would like to introduce to you Chief Petty Officer Cullen Debruyere who is stationed at Station Terranova." The Vice Admiral looked to the petty officer, "Chief Debruyere, the deck is yours."

The chief went up to the podium, "Thank you, Vice Admiral Blackwell. Distinguished guests and friends, Admirals, Officers, fellow enlisted Guardians, At the request of the Vice-Commandant, Vice-Admiral Blackwell, I have the honor to address a few words to this assembly on behalf of the newer members of the Second Life Coast Guard. Changes, transformations and other vicissitudes are an intrinsic part of life, and we as no others are aware of the truth in the saying that ‘Time and tide wait for no man.’ After twelve years on the waters, the Second Life Coast Guard has had to adapt to many changes, some of these transitions have been smooth and relatively painless, others have not. When confronted with visions of a different future than our own we may, to a certain extent, be taken aback and sometimes reluctant to accept the merits in proposals, more often than not we concentrate on the short-term inconveniences that the implementation of new policies may engender. Mentally and emotionally, Newton’s first law of motion applies to both the instigator of change as to those of a mind to oppose it. We should seize upon this opportunity to reflect on the steps we have taken, the many decisions that have led to us being here, today, in our present-day capacity and to not restrain ourselves from judging their individual worth. The same applies to this group, the Coast Guard, whence it came and where it is headed.

"We have all joined this distinguished group for personal motives; Our hopes, ambitions and values are as diverse as our name tags but we are unified in our love of the sea, sailing, flying, diving, camaraderie and team-work, in a word; Life itself, and the preservation thereof. Occasionally, the application of virtually acquired safe boating-reflexes has yielded positive results in the physical world by reducing the risk of accidents. In such cases where carelessness led to an incident regardless, the consequences were then strongly attenuated. Make no mistake; the right word at the right moment may save a life some day. For many years, this is what the Second Life Coast Guard has stood for in this world-wide virtual reality. As we proudly carry on this tradition, we assure that it will continue to do so.

"Many of us dedicate a substantial portion of our time to this work, voluntarily, sometimes unnoticed but always indispensable. Sincere compliments to each of us, from Seaman to Admiral, who contribute to the perpetuation of this wonderful group of individuals and essentially keep it running every day. Bear in mind that all hands are needed. This museum, full of memories to many and dedicated to both the real life- and virtual Guardians should serve as a reminder that our cause is one rooted in the distant past, has spread into the virtual reality since and that it will remain relevant, until long after we have secured from our Watch. Remember our shipmates, gone but not forgotten and know that they stand with us through the long nights and discomforting elements. You will never stand alone. In showing our predecessors proper respect, we shall merit the same. So let us regard this place as the vault in which we store our traditions, not merely a few inanimate objects, for us to visit solemnly when our resolve starts to waver or we find our perseverance to be lacking.

"In conclusion, I leave you with the words often attributed to Gustav Mahler, who said; 'Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.' Let us endeavor to keep our own flame burning bright. Thank you. Fair winds and following seas to you all. Semper Paratus!"

The chief stepped down from the podium to much applause, and Allian stepped up, "Thank you Chief Debruyere, That was very good and inspiring for all of us. The SLCG Museum Opening is about looking into our history.  We have had many fine leaders, officers and members that are here, and few we would like to recognize today for their duty, dedication and honor that have paved the way for what SL Coast Guard is today." She then looked to the audience, "Would Retired Vice Admiral Kari kae Vlodovic please join us on deck?" Kari (KariaKae Karu) blinked, surprised, then came up. Allian continued, "Welcome to the deck Vice Admiral. It gives us great pleasure on behalf of the SL Coast Guard to give you this certificate and  flag box for your duty and dedication to the SL Coast Guard that will not be long forgotten. Thank you for your service and your dedication."

There was much applause in response. "Thank you so much! My time in the SLCG was extremely rewarding." Sanstrom told her, "Kari, your very special to me and always have been. I can never thank you enough for your service." " Admiral Laxness, it was an honor to serve with you." she answered. The Admiral then spoke, "All I ask is but one favor of you please. No more throwing of horseshoes," referring to her equine appearance. There were a few chuckles and remarks of "Oh dear." Kari laughed, "Oh come on... you all had insurance for that." She stepped down, where she was hugged by her partner Kragon Vlodovic.

Allian continued, "For me, Vice Admiral was a mentor whose shoes were very hard to fill, but she taught me well." Kari mused, "Yeah you have those funny feet." Allian went on, "My deepest gratitude to her. One of the many things that SL Coast Guard has to be thankful for is those that support us by donating their land and support to us in furnishing their land and resources to us.  Without them the SL Coast Guard would not be what it is today.  We are very appreciative of their continued support in our mission. I know that many of your supporters are not with us today. One supporter of us is a very small one. Would Kininidy West to the deck please."

A child avatar in the audience, Kinnidy Fox West (Kinnidy Resident) gasped, then came to the stage and podium, "Thank yous Miss Alli." Sanstrom told the crowd, "Everyone, I'd like you all to know that this young lady built this stage for us with her own two little hands." Allian confirmed, "Yes, Ms West made the stage here today for us." Kinnidy smiled and waved to the audience, "This is a surprise and a great honor. I want to thank the SLCG for inviting me as a family member to support the cause. The SLG is full of the berry nicest peoples." The crowd applauded. Kinnidy mused, "Yes. I made most of it with tinker toys but it came out well. Thank you again. Have  a nice day everyone." She then got back down and took a seat.

Allian got back to the podium and went on, "Thank you Kinnidy  Now onto the more larger supporters. Would the following SL Coast Guard supporters please stand as I call your name:  Elbag Gable, Brenda Hoisin, Mark Twain White, Nber Medici, Patrick Leavitt, Delight Leavitt, Luke Flywalker, Donatella Mitchell, Max Boost, Debi Dastardly, Ey Ren, Jane Fossett, Veritas Ranamaker, Luckie Howlett, Whimsycallie Peglar, Micky Lancaster, Michel Rosenstrauch, Gail Lorraine, Charlie1700, Tank Kwaszes, Aaron Lamont, Adri Lamont.

"Please give these supporters a very big round of applause for their continued support of not only their resources but for their support in the SL Coast Guard mission for without them much of this is not even possible.  We have made a gift of appreciation for each one to commenorate this occasion and our continued appreciation for their wonderful support and generosity." The crowd broke into applause, "Thank you all for everything you do in supporting our mission and our the SL Coast Guard."

When the applause died down, Alliantold the crowd, "Please remain standing and would all of you please stand with them as the SL Coast Guard Honor Guard has our 21 gun salute before the cutting of the ribbon for the SLCG Museum Opening. Officer in Charge  CDR Mitchell of the SLCG Honor Guard and the SLCG Honor Guard is upstage to the left." The honor guard stood at attention. Donatella Mitchell then ordered the ones armed with rifles, "Attention! Order arms! Right face! Ready! Aim! Fire!" The squad fired. They would do this two more times, then Donatella ordered, "Order Arms! Left face! Present Arms! Parade Rest!"

Allian then told the crowd, "Thank you all.  Would you please follow the Commandant to the doorway to the Museum to continue to the official Ribbon Cutting and Opening of the SLCG Museum. Refreshments and tables are on the left of the Headquarters Building afterwards if you care to stay visit and chat after viewing the museum." Several in the audience cheered, "Semper Paratus!" And so the crowd began heading over. One of the speakers, the chief, was congratulated, "Very nice words, Curly. Well said up there." "Thank you, Captain," Cullen answered, "It was that or cleaning the Admiral's FRC." "That would not have been so good in your new uniform," spoke a second. "Oh, I don't know. Classy cleaning duty." "Loved your speech Cullen," a third spoke. "Thanks." "You're welcome.  Loved the quote at the end, got a bit choked up there (chuckle)."

Those who could headed inside the museum. But as there was a limited capacity, some couldn't get in. This included yours truly, so I took a couple pictures from a distance, then headed off to another event going on, Bay City's Mole Day event. Those wanting to check out the museum and it's exhibits can head over to the Guardian Building at Qlar Fell (181, 190, 25).

Bixyl Shuftan

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