Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Graduation at Ft. Jackson

We spent two days at Ft. Jackson with Roman. The first day was Family Day, which was very relaxed. We spent time at the playground, the small lake, and just being together. It was glorious. It was also surprisingly hot. I think we all got just a bit sunburned.
After the long weeks of waiting, it was such a relief to see Roman.
The entrance to Ft. Jackson.

Despite arriving two hours early, we still had to face quite the crowd.

The kids patiently waiting in the stroller.
The bleachers were filled with anxious, excited family members. The noise was rather deafening when soldiers all came onto the field. Clapping, cheering, stomping, and whistling. It frightened the kids a little bit. Rather than cheering I was crying with relief. When they let the families go it was quite a rush to get onto the field. After maneuvering our large stroller onto the field, Rhonda stayed with the kids while I went to find Roman. All the soldiers had to stay in formation until a family member came to them. Roman said it was agony to watch me search for him. After all, it was a little hard to find him when everyone is in uniform, and there are large crowds. It was also one of the largest graduating classes of the year, over 1,000 privates.

Ethan cried when he saw Roman. I think he was shocked that we were finally seeing him again. When Saoirse's turn came she just rested her head on Roman's shoulder and stayed there, like she never wanted to leave. Carsten was his usual smiley self, just happy to be out of the stroller.
Children still need attention, even when parents just want to hug.

Her vocabulary shocked Roman, as it had grown during his absence. She loved talking to Daddy.

Ethan was so excited to see 'armies' (soldiers) everywhere.

Some target practice with Daddy.

I asked Ethan if I could take his picture by the tank. He told me to take it of him watching the tank.
Graduation Day was much cooler, and full of pomp and ceremony. There was a fine army band, and of course a field of men and women in dress blues.

Roman's cousin, Jeff Wagenius, is a lieutenant in the Air Force. It was lots of fun to have him attend the graduation. Roman has one other cousin in the Air Force and a cousin in the National Guard.

I hope to send a family picture around after New Years!

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