Showing support for her soldier brother!
Proud Army Sister and her gear to prove it
He did it! Ryan graduated today! Today would have been my Grandpa's 89th birthday. He served our country in WWII and would have been so proud to see Ryan graduate. We thought it was pretty amazing that Ryan graduated on my Grandpa's birthday.
Jeff was not feeling great but was able to make it...thank you so much for praying.
We got to the stadium almost two hours early so that we could get decent seats. Poor Jeff was having a hard time staying in his seat because we could see the troops out at one end of the field. I asked him how he was doing and he said it was so hard to know that Ryan was a few hundred yards away but he couldn't just go down and see him.
Promptly at 10AM, the ceremony started. There was a band today playing patriotic music and of course yesterday's and today's events were started with the National Anthem. Hearing it never ceases to give me chills.
I was frantically trying to find Ryan in the view finder of my camera to no avail. It frustrated me to no end. After loading the photos onto my computer tonight, I eventually found him.
After the ceremony, (and yes, we jumped over all the seats again to get out of there) we went out to find Ryan. We searched and searched. We found his platoon and got momentarily distracted by a large group circled around a young couple. It was a guy in Ryan's platoon, down on one knee in front of his girlfriend. Oh my goodness...it was so touching. A bunch of the guys in the platoon were standing around with their cell phones raised, taking pictures. As the sobbing girlfriend nodded yes, the soldier slipped a ring on her finger and the crowd was whooping and hollering. It was so cool.
I wasn't quick enough to catch the proposal, but here is the happy couple.
We still needed to find Ryan. I finally decided to go look in the spot where we had found him the day before. Sure enough...there he was, visiting with some sweet friends from Mass. who had come to see him graduate. I told him that his dad was dying to see him, so we headed back to the group. I saw Jeff suddenly see Ryan. He handed everything he was holding to the person next to him and started to run toward Ryan. I'll let the next series of photos speak for themselves.
A father's love
Oh great...now I have a big ol' lump in my throat again. I think it is going to stay for awhile.
Ryan finally got to leave the base after 10 weeks. He said it felt weird--in a good way. :) We took him to lunch for a big burger and then tonight we went to dinner at a place where he could have a steak.
Time always passes too quickly and soon it was time to take him back to the barracks. Jeff was able to go inside and see Ryan's bunk. My mom had volunteered to take all the kids back to the hotel so that Jeff and I could go with Ryan. It was so nice to have him to ourselves for a little while!
The phones, where the infamous and precious phone calls are made