US Military Customs and Courtesies. I have several retired Officer that I communicate with regularly.
One, in particular, in Kentucky that I still call Colonel. I have known him for 22 years. He was a senior Captain when we met. He will always be Colonel to me, out of respect for he as a man and an Officer in the US Army. That's not to say we're not friends. I know his wife well, and watched his two children grow up. I helped him build his new house in Kentucky (after his other burned down). It's tradition, it's courtesy, it's a military thing. He still calls me Sergeant Major.
Another gent, here in Alaska, similar situation. I've known him for 18 years, met him as a senior Captain as well. We're both retired, he from the Air Force. Still he will never be Bob between the two of us. When speaking in public - or to a thrid party - I use his name so no one is confused. When speaking alone with him, it's Sir or Colonel.
Now - there are a few officers I know - active and retired - that I will avoid speaking with or won't give the courtesy of referring to their current or retired rank. It's a respect thing . . . . respect is earned, not given.
This custom is not restricted to officers, but to senior enlisted personnel as well. In my current occupation I do not use my retired military title. But on all my civilian paperwork, e-mail, etc (except for personal letters) I do use it. It's a matter of pride and custom. I earned it, honorably, and I intend to keep it honorably.
Does that help you out there Duke?
[Edited 2005-04-12 18:49:02]
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND