See them? (Click on the pictures for larger views.) There were that many more to the other side of the flag bearers, who were in the middle of the ranks of soldiers. Our soldier wasn't out there though. She got the day off, so she joined us, a little behind the platform and the band. That's Uncle Mark, younger young giant, our soldier the big sister, and her other "little" brother. The day was mostly cloudy for most of the time, although just at the right moment in the ceremony, Major Curtis commanded the sun to shine and it did. Apparently, there were also matters needing commiserative and disbelieving debriefing, because this was the conversation as she brought him to meet us. And grandma and grandpa were there too. Like the magnets they are, they were on a first-name basis (much to our soldier's chagrin) with the Commander - whom they spoke to before they even got out of their car! "How will we know which one is our soldier?" "Well, ma'am, what is your soldier's name? .... Oh! She's my woman! When we want something done, she's the one who gets it done. Her unit is right over there." --- And then later, "We can't find you. Where are you sitting? ... uh-huh ... uh-huh ... What? You were talking to who???"
We looked at the scary machines in the yard at the museum,And we decided that the best pose with a dictator is one you pick yourself,And we stood in truly horrible lighting for a "siblings" shot,And outdoors for a family shot (proof that at 5'9" I really am the shortest one in the family - and proof that it's been too long since my last haircut ... and notice the bunching up? the posing for the camera? nah - me neither)And then we waited around a bit (that's the little brother ... waiting around ...)because the soldier's husband called from Iraq, and everyone gave her some privacy in the other car. Now it's his turn to worry, and he wishes she weren't leaving their cute little house and the base and everything else to go off to the danger zone.
For my part, I'm glad we met her superior officers - because now I see the reality of who she is in her job, and the respect she has earned. They know her. See her. She will be as safe as it is possible to be in such a situation, and we are fiercely proud of her. --- Next year for my birthday, she should be home again.