On the Tuesday following the Tangen family reunion, we flew off to Columbia, SC by way of Charlotte, NC. It was funny to be on an airplane with a flight time of 17 minutes. It took longer to board the flight than it did to get to Columbia! We checked into our hotel and then drove around the area getting our bearings about where everything was.
The next morning was Family Day. Off we went, an hour early, to the field where this event was being held. We joined the migrating herds of family members who were there to celebrate their children's success. It turns out that there were 1,244 men and women were graduating! And about 50 or so had not made it this far yet! We sat in the bleachers and talked to other parents and siblings of graduates. And read the books we brought along for the long wait. Some families had been very creative, having come with large groups of family and friends who wore special T-shirts announcing their loyalty!
All of a sudden on the edge of the woods, smoke bombs went off and all of a sudden the people we can come to see came racing toward us across the field, taking their places in their various companies A-F.
I have no idea why you can't turn this off and on, but that is the way it is. It is probably better to watch the video (next) rather than this. But I was pleased that I was able to take this. The original doesn't have the arrow in the center :-). . Of course since I had never taken a video before with my camera, that could be part of the problem! Wait for the beginning!
Here is a You-Tube video of the same event from a different angle. And likely a much newer camera!
This is her "Company Echo" after they all got into their positions. Seriously, they all look the same. At the end of this we had to go out on the field and find our soldier. Looked like it could have been an all-day event.. She said later she's in the third row from the right (facing) near the back. I never did find her until we were out on the field. She actually found us which is not surprising as her dad is 6'4".
Listening to the speeches; impatiently waiting for the time to see and hug the successful soldier.
Camo hat off..
Drat! Still can't find the kid. How can so many people look so similar! I even had my birding binoculars and there was no chance of identification. But at last we got together!
Mom and daughter
Home sweet home for the past ten weeks (right there on the right).
Top bunk - makes her new school housing of a room shared with one roommate look pretty good!
The base command is really quite clever! Family day lasts from about ten in the morning until evening but the not quite graduated soldiers cannot leave the post. So what do families do for all that time? Well, we spent some time at a coffee stand by a small lake (this was a highlight for the deprived soldier), went to dinner (spent money), went to a movie (spent money) and went to the exchange (spent money). Good planning on their end! We watched the new Superman movie. The story was pretty good but honestly, the combat scenes were just overdone. I was really tired of watching New York high rises getting smashed. Ack! It seemed to drag on. But the overall story was very good. Just too much, too much!
THE NEXT DAY, AUGUST 1ST WAS
The band begins!
They marched from the far end of the field and got in position to march in front of the stands.
Somewhere in there is my daughter!
Somewhere marching by. . . .
PROUD OF YOU! The US has some good looking soldiers!
Dad and daughter reprise!
Daughter reverts to previous behaviors! Coffee and Facebook!
Now the festivities are done and for the first time in ten weeks she gets to get off base! WooHoo! Latte's and computer access for the first time in ten weeks. Happy Camper! This is in our hotel room. She spent the afternoon on Facebook and talking on the phone. Brought to mind desert travelers with access to water at long last!
In the evening we took her out to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. My husband and I had been there our first night in town and had steaks. But the second time we had their pork chop. It was fabulous!
The next day she left for Fort Eustice and we left for home. The return was not without its drama! Our flight to Houston was arriving at the time it should have been leaving. We landed in Houston the same time our connection was leaving the runway for home. I harbored a small hope that we would get put up at a hotel and could wait to go home the next day with a travel voucher. Ha! United Airlines promptly got us confirmed on the 9:30 flight and a few hours later our vacation was at an end and we were disembarking at Sea-Tac!
What a fun vacation we had. Relaxing and fun! A good time was had by all!