This homecoming was reserved MONTHS in advance. Actually, I was contacted back in March, requesting a homecoming in September for OpLove. Seems so funny now, but Kristen was serious about locking in the date. I had done a homecoming for a friend and Kristen wanted to make sure we were locked in. I wish I were that organized!
Plenty of nerves until you know they're on the ground!
And until you're in their arms, it's not for real!
They may have arrived, but you only get a few precious minutes before they have to leave again for a few hours to turn in their equipment.
That time is much easier to handle though when you know they'll be home to stay.
So much time to make up for...one of my favorite pictures!
I haven't had a welcome home ceremony in over 6 months. I didn't realize how much I missed it.
As you think about your day and offer up your prayers, remember the Soldiers and their families that sacrifice for us each and every day so that we can pray and enjoy our freedoms! Today there are almost 200 families praising God for their Hero's safe return. And as they do that, 2,000 101st Soldiers are getting ready to say goodbye for another tour.
has the last month gone? Between sickness, Christmas, traveling, sickness, New Years, the polar vortex, more sickness and life in general, the last month has just flown by! Right before Christmas I had my last OpLove request of the year. Again, I can't say no. They've given so much and it's such a small thing that I can give back.
Travis first contacted me from overseas to ask about OpLove.
I met up with Bekka, his wife, at the hanger, and we spent the next few hours waiting. We were told the flight was delayed an hour, but somehow the winds were with us and they made up some time! There is no way to avoid getting the goosebumps when you hear the words "15 minutes until arrival" and the cheers go up!
How do you not shed a tear when the plane lands?!
It seems like forever until the plane taxi's to the staircase.
And forever until they are lined up and the hanger doors open giving you a glimpse of your loved one.
And then, in the blink of an eye, you're in his arms and nothing else matters.
If only for 15 minutes, your loved one is home...safe! Welcome Home Soldiers, welcome home!
I couldn't help but take a few pictures of the littlest soldiers. They were there for hours waiting patiently. They ran around, played and had fun. I didn't hear too many meltdowns. It's like they all "knew", even the littlest one's that were too little to know. These pictures did.me.in. The one's left at home, keeping the home fires burning, praying for the safe return of their mommy or daddy.
Knowing how much my boys enjoy fishing with their daddy made me want to cry when I saw this sign! I sure hope they get plenty of fishing done in the next few months!
"Daddy's home and he'll fix all boo boo's"
Not the greatest picture because I was across the hanger, but it got me. I could see those hands patiently (and probably not so patiently) praying each night for daddy to return home safely.
Is there anything sweeter? I can sleep now, daddy's home.
Holy moly. This one did it for me. Those big, brown eyes, safe in daddy's arms.
There were 3 planes this week with almost 600 coming home...that's a lot of fishing dates, tea party dates, and date dates to catch up on! Welcome Home Soldiers!
My second homecoming was the homecoming that almost didn't happen. They request that family/friends be there 2 hours early. I'm sure this is because the flight could be early or late. The 1st one was about 30 minutes late and I was there 2 hours early with no problems. The 2nd one was on the day before Thanksgiving. It was a sunny, beautiful (but cold) day. As I was getting on the highway and about 40 minutes from arrival, I saw a highway sign that said the highway was closed at exit 18...I have to go to exit 1. This is not looking good...on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, with a lot of people traveling.
I had an alternate exit in mind and got as far as exit 24 before we came to a grinding halt. Now, due to my 2 hour early window, I had plenty of time...or so I thought. An hour of sitting in traffic on the detoured route and I decided we had to find a way around or we would not make it. We were still 15+ miles away and had an hour and 20 minutes before the scheduled arrival. I still had to get to the base, stop for a pass and make my way to the shuttle area. This was not looking good.
Thank heavens for smartphones and accurate maps. After 15 minutes of winding my way through backroads, we landed back at exit 18. Either traffic was now getting through slowly or people were turning around, but there wasn't much traffic coming from the direction of where the highway was closed. We hopped on the highway and put the pedal to the metal. After all was said and done, we made it 20 minutes before the "scheduled" arrival, which ended up being 20 minutes late. Too close for comfort.
This arrival was in the dark, so unfortunately the arrival pictures are just too dark. The excitement bursting...
One of my favorite pictures...anticipation
Sometimes, there are just no words...
He's been gone 17 months...they've been married 8 months...this homecoming was a long time coming!
Welcome Home Soldiers! I have 1 more scheduled before Christmas. I am blessed to be a part of this organization.
Thanksgiving week was super crazy this year. This was the first year we didn't spend with family. I missed our annual black Friday crazy shopping with my mom, but it was ok. I have A LOT to be thankful for.
First off, I am thankful for a loving and supportive husband, that puts up with me and my craziness. I am thankful that he served our country and that he got out before we were married. I had 2 OpLove homecomings Thanksgiving week. 2 different ladies waiting patiently for their Soldiers to come home from a war-torn part of the world. Many months of separation, nights of sleepless worry and they were finally coming home.
Homecoming #1 was on Monday and turned out to be a snowy return. Beautiful and cold. Laughter calms the nerves of the late flight.