October 16, 2008

The most beautiful of all photos ...

This past week has been exhausting. I'm at 33 hours awake on 3 hours of sleep, but it's all been worth it.

One of my deployed units was supposed to return on Tuesday but facing delays they did not return until last night. Telling the families that had gathered at the gymnasium onTuesday that their Soldier would not be arriving for another two days was one of the hardest thing I've done since taking this job over a year ago.

The welcome party met at the HQ building starting as early as 10 p.m. last night. I arrived just after 11 p.m. filled with coffee and trying to stay awake. We arrived at the airport just after 1 a.m. and waited ... and waited. Just after 2:30 a.m. we got the news that they had arrived. Out to the tarmac we go to welcome home our weary warriors. What an amazing experience.

Words cannot describe how tired these travelers were as they slowly exited the plane and walked down the stairs. Their pace quickened as saw the final steps of their journey came into view.

They filed into the hanger, turned in their weapons and settled onto the bleachers to await their final briefings before loading up on buses to travel the last hour seperating them from their loved ones.

A little after 3:30 a.m. the Soldiers loaded onto the buses and off we went for what many Soldiers describe as the longest road home.

As they filed into the gym, the excitement could be felt as the Families stood to their feet and the cheered. The tears flowed as the Soldiers stood in formation and the commanding general thanked them for their service. 15-months was too long for them and the general had barely ended him speech when children raced forwarded into the waiting arms of their parents.

These are the moments that make the life we life worth it.

Until our next cup of tea ...

5 Tea Party Guest:

liberal army wife said...

we had one Col say - ok, we're here. attention. dismissed.

That was IT.


ancient one said...

I'm so proud of our troops and people like you who look out for them and their families. Thanks for all you do!

lime said...

what a relief to each of those families to have their loved ones back safely in their arms. thank you for sharing this with us.

Chen,Shun-Chuan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stitcherw said...

What a fantastic reunion that must be. I can't even imagine being apart from someone I love that long and dealing with all the uncertainty, stress, and worry during the time. I'm so glad that they are back, and there is someone like you to help coordinate the return so their return can be celebrated for the families and soldiers.