America has a loneliness epidemic – May 2023

America has a loneliness epidemic – May 2023

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…

Hebrews 10:24-25

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced that America has a loneliness epidemic. Even before the pandemic, loneliness was an issue but has since been exacerbated. It is a health crisis with effects equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes daily, according to Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University.

“Loneliness is linked to an increased risk for anxiety and depression, heart disease, dementia and other health issues, as well as early death.”[i]

What is the root of this issue? Lack of connection. How is that possible with social media? Social media is an artificial connection. It is a great tool when we are far away from one another. However, social media has become so addictive that even when inhabiting the same space, we are distracted by our phones and other devices. It is like we live in the dystopian universe of Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, where everyone prefers to live in the virtual reality world of the Metaverse OASIS rather than face reality.

During the season of Lent, I fasted from social media. I often do this when I feel it is consuming too much of my attention. Without social media, I have greater clarity and am more focused. I can accomplish far more in less time because I am less distracted. Whenever I abstain from social media, I instantly find the time I thought I never had enough of. It is the same 24 hours in the day that has always been. Time had not changed, but my priorities had. I am also healthier because I have more time to exercise. I gain new revelations and life perspectives because I am open to hearing what God communicates directly versus reading someone else’s alleged “revelation.” My creativity increases. Most importantly, I am more at peace because my world is quieter away from social media.

Whenever I end my social media fast and log back in, I am immediately overwhelmed by how much information is coming at me. The cacophony of voices is like a loud trumpet blasting in my ears. You only realize how many opinions come at you once you withdraw from the noise.

What is the lesson here?

Perhaps the cure to this loneliness epidemic is more real interactions and relationships. When you are around others, put down the phones. Cut out the distractions and give the other person your undivided attention. We’ve lost the ability to communicate because our heads are void of deep thoughts and filled with junk. Build genuine connections with the people you are closest to. Earth is beautiful! Enjoy and explore it! Not just for Instagram likes. Volunteer and be a blessing to someone else. It is hard to pity yourself when you are helping others.

Bottom line, log off and live life.


Lieutenant General Vincent Raymond Stewart, USMC

Lieutenant General Vincent Raymond Stewart, USMC

Friday, April 28, 2023 – With heavy hearts, we report the passing of long-time NNOA supporter and friend Lieutenant General Vincent Raymond Stewart, USMC.  He served as Deputy Commander at United States Cyber Command. He previously served as the 20th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). LtGen Stewart, who held that post from January 23, 2015 through October 3, 2017, was the first African American, Jamaican American, and Marine to be Director of the DIA.

He is survived by his wife, (Phyllis), five children (Vincent, Robert, Nicole, Jennifer, and Patrick), and 15 grandchildren in order of age (Rashid, Usamah, Khattab, Ahlam, Saidah, Salahideen, Harrison, Terrell, Lily, Uriah, Sumaya, Veda, Lyric, Shahadah, and Sakina), as well his sisters and brothers (Vinette,  Paulette, Gaila, and Charmaine) and son and daughter in law (Kyle and Noor).

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to:

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
909 N. Washington Street., Suite 400,
Alexandria, Virginia 22314.

Donations Link: Give in Memory of LtGen Vincent Stewart

Mrs. Margie Griffin mother of Captain Anthony Swain, USN (Ret)

Mrs. Margie Griffin mother of Captain Anthony Swain, USN (Ret)

It is with saddened hearts that we report the passing of Margie Iola Griffin, the mother of longtime NNOA / DCNNOA member CAPT (Ret) Anthony (Tony) Swain, USN, on April 5, 2023 at the age of 84. She was known as a loving and devoted mother by her children, Captain Anthony Swain, USN, (Ret) (Dr. Joy); Gwendolyn Swain Allen; Marvin Swain (Kim); and Tracy Swain (Anisa). Her grandchildren are Dr. Trevon Swain (Tiffani), Amber Swain, Tracy Swain (Sameal), Christopher Swain, Allejah Swain, Miya Allen, and Kai Allen. She is also survived by her 5 great grandchildren, five siblings, two aunts, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

She also is survived by five siblings, two aunts, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Viewing Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
Mitchell Funeral Care and Creation
609 Hull Drive
Elizabeth City, NC

Celebration of Life, Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 11:30 a.m.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, COCGIC
118 N. Carolina Hwy 343 S.
Camden, NC

In lieu of Flowers, the family is requesting donations to Margie & Calvin Griffin Endowed Scholarship,Link:


America has a loneliness epidemic – May 2023

Be careful about looking back too long. You might get stuck. Apr 2023

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Genesis 19:26

Recently, I visited my family’s coastal hometown in South Georgia and while there I stopped by my grandparents’ house. Over the years, I have driven by the house and looked at it, but I have not been inside since the day of my grandfather’s funeral 25 years ago. He had been preceded in death by my grandmother just 2 years earlier. I often dream of being in that house, but in 25 years I had not set foot inside. But on this visit I went in, and boy did the memories start coming back.

It’s not a big house: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, a kitchen, living room, dining room, den, front porch and a screened-in back porch. Yet, it seemed that tiny house held hundreds of people no matter the occasion! I remember the Spades and Dominoes games on the back porch with my cousins, while my grandma and the other women boiled the crabs in the kitchen. Grandaddy and the men would be in the den watching TV. Guests were in and out all day from sunup to sundown. I remember sitting on the front porch on my grandma’s lap as she received guests all day long seeming to know everyone. It is amazing that a house that small was the center of so much activity. Good times!

As I drove around town, even more memories came back of places where I used to spend time. Back at my uncle’s house, I began looking through old photo albums with my sister and even more memories came flooding back. The longer I was there, the further I went (in the words of Minnie Ripperton) back down memory lane!
I missed my childhood.
I missed my family, both living and dead.
I wanted to go back.

But I had to remind myself…those days are over.

When revisiting the past, there is always a temptation to stay, regardless if the memories are good or bad. However, looking back too long is a trap that prevents us from moving forward. We get stuck on what could or should have been rather than moving forward with what is. When dwelling on the past, there is comfort in knowing the outcome of the story rather than facing the uncertainty of the future. In other words, the past is comfortable.
While a lot had changed in my hometown, there was also much that had not changed and I realized had I stayed there and never left, I would not have changed either. When we are too comfortable, we become complacent, and do not grow.

Salt is a dehydrating agent which makes it nearly impossible for anything to grow from it. Maybe that is why Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt. She looked back when she was supposed to be moving forward. She was not ready to grow.

What is the lesson for us? Be careful about looking back too long. You might get stuck.

Who’s Who in Women’s History?

Who’s Who in Women’s History?

In commemoration of Women’s History Month, making up this collage are female leaders and pioneers in their field and Service and many are also NNOA members.

Above is the Answer Key for the Women’s History Month Collage. I implore you to take the time to research these remarkable and inspiring leaders. Don’t know where you are going if you don’t know the people who opened these doors that you now walk through.

Congratulations to the 2023 Distinguished Graduate Awardees

Congratulations to the 2023 Distinguished Graduate Awardees

On March 24, 2023, the Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy (USNA) and the President of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation presented medals to its 2023 Distinguished Graduate Awardees (DGA) at Alumni Hall at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Notably, three of the five awardees are longtime NNOA members whose servant leadership continues to strengthen our Nation, our Naval Services, and our Association. NNOA DGAs for this year are:

  • Major General Leo V. Williams III ’70, USMCR (Retired)
  • Rear Admiral Julius S. Caesar “77, USNR (Retired)
  • Admiral Cecil D. Haney”78, USN (Retired)

Other awardees include:

  • Ronald L. Nicol ’75
  • Admiral James G. Stavridis ’76, USN (RET)

On behalf of NNOA, congratulations to each of you and may God continue to bless all that you do!

Cedric E. Pringle
RDML USN (Retired)
President NNOA