Will shipped to Ft. Polk this morning. I took him to the armory since his car has some mechanical problems. Well, he drove my car anyway. They spend three weeks in Louisiana and then come home and leave again July 28 for Georgia. They will deploy from Georgia.
Thursday night there was a concert for them at the armory. A country band played, but they tossed in some blues and rock. I have to say they were quite good. Of course, I am addicted to good guitar music. Another of the things on my to do list, learn to play.
A woman I guess to be in her forties or fifties stood next to me as the men were forming up for pictures. She was very classy looking and pretty. I glanced at her occasionally and she had this burning look of pride on her face. She looked at me and smiled. “Aren’t they just the most gorgeous young men? So, very, very handsome.” She smiled again. “Gorgeous collection of men.”
Her husband is a vet. I wondered which of the young men there was her son or grandson. There is a special bond between family members and you recognize the loved ones as opposed to the ones just attending.
She was right. Of course, I was seeing it from another perspective. When Will puts his uniform on, he ages instantly. He’s been in the Guards since he was seventeen and he will most likely turn twenty-two in Iraq this fall. I should be accustomed to it, but I’m not. I want to say he’s just a kid, but he isn’t. I want to act stupid and break down and cry, but I can’t.
I watched the other families there. Wives and girlfriends smiled and held hands with their men. Parents visit and smile a lot. A few, like me, ducked their heads to wipe away tears from time to time.
One woman was holding a baby who can’t be more than a week or two old. Her husband proudly showed off the baby to the other men. A few of the other women were pregnant. Will’s girlfriend is pregnant.
It occurred to me women have been sending their loved ones off to war for thousands of years. This scene was no different emotionally than untold others. Pride, fear, love, courage…dread. We dread the goodbye in July. All of us do. And yet we know it’s coming.
Henderson, Will’s best friend was sitting with us. A very attractive lady and her husband brought chairs and asked if they could sit next to us. They visited a lot with Henderson. Especially the lady. Her husband was up, moving around a lot so she spent a lot of time just chatting. Will and his girlfriend teased him about hitting on an older lady. Henderson grinned a lot. He always does. Toward the end of the program, the singer asked the mayor to come up and say a few words. The woman who had been visiting with the guys stood up. Hmmm, Henderson’s been schmoozing it up with the mayor. That got even more mileage.
The Confederate Air Force (now the Commemorative Air Force because confederate is automatically associated with racism and not just a confederated effort) did a fly over with vintage planes. That was stirring to see those old planes in formation, flying into the sunset.
Their deployment ceremony will be July 28, but I greatly appreciated the effort all these people went to for this concert. I think it does make a difference when the soldiers know they are supported and appreciated.