My trip to Georgia was wonderful...sad, but wonderful. We arrived wednesday night, went straight to bed, and got up at 6am to start getting ready to go to Joe's turning blue ceremony...we get all dressed up...Im in heels (but the tomboy in me told me to grab the flip-flops just in case.) We get to the base and get parked and it begins to downpour...we have about a 1/2 mile to walk to the actual ceremony site...awesome. Flip-flops on, we go trapsing across the base to the ceremony location...the turning blue ceremony was nice...short and sweet and we got to see joe. He came back to our shitel (hotel that was shitty) for the day. There was lots of hugging and crying on my moms part. He spent the entire day with us before we had to take him back to base at 8pm.
Friday was graduation day. I wanted to be to the field early because Joe told me to get a seat up close and just left of the middle...found them! Joe had told me that he had gotten chosen to do a demo during graduation and wouldn't be marching with his platoon...it was a suprise to the rest of the family. Im thinking the demo will de of him showing how to use a weapon or something...not so much. The announcer is telling how the field is sown with grass from all the major conflicts, Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, locations in Korea and Vietnam, Civil War sites...that they will be walking in the footsteps of thier predecessors...pretty cool. Well the field was kinda like a hill and you couldn't see over it. All of a sudden large plumes of smoke start rising from behind the hill, then machine guns start firing and bombs start going off...shockng. Over the hill come a group of 8 soldiers, in full gear, stalking like they would across a battlefield. I instantly pick Joe out and begin bawling....I mean sobs and all. I don't want to picuture my brother that way...it broke my heart, even though it was swelled with pride. I want to see him in his dress uniform or ACU's, not full kit like he is going into battle. He was right in front of us...litterally 3 ft away...I picked the perfect seats. I finally composed myself enough to take some pictures and by that time he was running off the field. After the ceremony, I run up to him, hit him, and say, "why the hell didn't you give me an idea so I didn't cry like that?!" He just laughed. That is Joe.
He got to spend the rest of the weekend with us. It was wonderful. He ate well, slept well, and got to spend some good quality time with the family and two of his friends that drove down.
Saying goodbye on Sunday night was hard. I started crying again when I went to give him a goodbye hug (Im tearing ip now thinking about it...) but I have solice knowing that he is loving it, that he has found a group of guys like him, that he carries himself with pride now, that he is my same fun loving, crazy little brother, and that he will be a great soldier (his special forces drill sergeant told me so!) he will be home in August for 15 days...he asked me to throw him another party...done. Im excited to see him again.
Will post pictures as soon as I get them back!