Nine months ago some of my closest friends here went to go fight in a war. Today we welcomed them home. After signing on my German friends (and one Irish friend visiting one of them) to the post, we arrived early, expecting it to start at 1500. False. Then we realized that most welcome home ceremonies end up being late, because we have to wait for the soldiers to get there from the airport. The ceremony didn’t start until two hours later. We were getting anxious! However, I can’t really explain to you what it was like to just sit there and people watch at something like this. Moms herded their children to a seat, some kids had made signs for their daddies, some were carrying balloons, and some were wearing t-shirts with their daddy’s photo on it. They handed out American flags and pins to the crowd, and even my German friends waved theirs proudly. I saw a couple of my high school kids there too, getting ready to welcome home their dads. It was an amazing sight and an amazing feeling as the anticipation and happiness in the air was contagious.
My high school friend Tori and her family
Kat, my new Irish friend, Salome, and Jess, having fun “being American”
Suddenly and without warning, the curtain slowly went up, and the sight of over 100 combat boots standing in formation representing friends, daddies, mommies, husbands, and wives was enough to make me tear up and get goosebumps. As they stood right in front of us, they weren’t supposed to smile and we had to wait. It was torture! My friend Chaplain Martindale offered a prayer and the post Commander said a few words but dismissed us fast! I took a video- the whole ceremony was only about 3 minutes long (sorry for the blurryness):
It’s impossible not to be proud to be an American after that. And to enjoy the glorious reunions!
The Huisjen kids (whose missionary parents run the Hospitality House- a ministry to soldiers) missed Karl
Monte and Brook
He sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:6
Snapped this one as we were leaving- don’t know them but this was beautiful.
So grateful to God for bringing my friends home safe, and grateful for what they do for us. Being in the Army is hard in many ways, but these guys do it with an incredible reliance on God to get them through each day. So glad to have them back with us! The reason I think things like this strike at our emotional core is that we are relational people. We are not meant to be apart. This ceremony was a reminder to me of the beauty of the reunion we will have in heaven one day with everyone we love. The anticipation builds.