We started the day deciding Flo and I would go to the beach and Barb would wait for her sister Sharon. Flo is learning to navigate on iPhone with Maps. Normally that’s Debbie’s job. It takes a lot of patience to direct my driving. So, I’m asking Flo, “are you sure we’re going right?” She looks at me and says, “You need a time out.” Guess I wasn’t doing too good. She said she would be glad when Debbie is back. We did get to the beach – check out the name of the park – “BELMONT Park”-so cool to see that name big. We went to a big flea market which was kind of interesting and even got to take a nap before dinner and ceremony.
The unit paid for our dinner but it took 20 minutes longer and we almost didn’t make it in time. We still had to go upstairs and change our clothes which we were doing when they called and said they were ready. I was yelling at Flo that we gotta go and texting Barb that we gotta go. We walked in the door and we heard, “SSG, front and center.” Boy was that close.
They called me up and had me speak. Then Barb and Flo worked the quilts while Sharon took pictures. We called them up 5 at a time. Now, these guys were all officers in the Marines but I told them they had to follow orders from a female Army SSG. They all laughed but they didn’t get out of line. They didn’t realize there were quilts inside their cases until the first 5 pulled them out. Then came the sounds from the crowd, ooh, aww and claps. I watched the faces of the crowd as the guys unveiled their quilts; the wives had big smiles and all were so happy. They couldn’t believe we were giving each one a quilt. One recipient said, “This is for the ones who didn’t come home” as his voice broke. Another one said, “nobody every does something like this for me.” And another said, “this is such an honor your doing for us.” I got so many hugs and kisses – one kissed me on top of my head – that was pretty funny. It was so beautiful to see that each one was so taken by their quilt. They knew how much it meant and the labor of love it took to create. Every time we do one of these reunions where we don’t tell the guys that they will be receiving a quilt is unforgettable.
After we presented all the quilts, we introduced the QOH crew and they all stood and clapped. Many hugged the ladies. As I was walking out the door, one veteran came and introduced me to his wife who was a Marine veteran who served during Vietnam. We had brought two extra quilts so guess what we did. We called her up and presented her a quilt. Everyone in the room agreed that women who served during that era had their own combat. There was also an active duty Marine in attendance with a Purple Heart so there went another quilt.
So the night was a great success and once again we honored so many.
I’m finishing this at breakfast where we could barely get through our meal for all the thank you’s from the guys and them telling us how much it meant.
God bless each one of you who help us to continue our mission. We are off to Disneyland now for some R and R.