Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Iraq and Back continued
I thought I'd add some more pictures, details and thoughts about the 571 days.
Rick left with the forward party on a cold January day in 2005. It was a pretty sobering time, seeing him leave and knowing there were some hard times ahead. This is a picture I took of Rick at the Armory that day. They were standing in final formation, just prior to going to the airport to fly out. The look on their faces pretty well sums up the general feeling that day. It was pretty somber.
After spending 6 months in Camp Shelby, Mississippi, they spent about 3 weeks at the NTC in California. Rick said this was the hardest part of the training, very hard living conditions and even harder training. They were able to spend 2 weeks at home before heading back to Mississippi prior to deployment to Kuwait and into Iraq. Justin came down during this time and was able to spend some quality time with Rick and I. Justin and I took Rick to Las Vegas to fly out the day he left. It was a pretty emotional day, not knowing when we would see him again.
As I was telling Rick good-bye, Justin was snapping pictures of us. I love the pictures he took, they were totally unstaged. They still make me cry, they remind me how sad we all were that day. This is one that shows our emotion and how tender Rick was with me that day. I promise I will post some happy stuff too, this is just such a big part of our separation, how can I not share it?
We spent a long time in the hot Vegas sun, most of the families gave up and left because the planes were so late leaving. Danny and Barb's family and Justin and I were among 7 or so who braved the heat, waiting to see them fly out. Justin paid later with a pretty good sunburn. It turns out that we were very lucky to be there. Someone on the plane took the Battalion flag into the cock pit and the pilots allowed them to fly it out the front window. I took this picture as the plane taxied away from us. Pretty awesome sight!
On a lighter note. After they left Justin and I went to the Aladdin Hotel, where we were staying. We cleaned up a little and drowned our sorrows by shopping 'til we dropped. We also ate at one of our favorite places, PF Changs. It was a great temporary fix.
I would never have survived the 571 days without Justin. He was my strength and my sounding board. I know it was very hard for him, having his dad in harms way and being so far from home. We talked almost daily and he was always doing nice, thoughtful things for me. He just made me so happy and reminded me to be ever so grateful for the family I've been blessed with. LYT!! Me