The end of May brought Kenny home safely from Iraq and it worked out that I could be there to welcome him home. Yay. Yay. Yay. I drove to Fort Riley, met his family and was there for the welcome home ceremony on base. The 7 hour drive went by so quickly I could hardly believe it. Feeling like a little kid, I was so excited to get to talk to his mom, Nicolasa, in person. His two brothers George and Adrian were there too. They made me feel like family and the 3 days spent there were priceless. Being on the base felt a bit uncomfortable. I felt as though I was walking on hallowed ground and part of me said I shouldn’t be there.
When Kenny walked in the room we yelled and screamed. Finally I could breathe and relax, he was home safe. There were about 150 soldiers that had finished their tours of duty. Each one anxiously awaiting the reunion with family and friends. They all stood at attention in straight rows facing us and just looking at their presence I felt awestruck. After the ceremony was over, I stood back, took it all in and watched as the families ran up to hug their loved ones. It was so touching. Tears of joy filled my eyes as I watched the kids hug their dads and not let go, and the spouses that hugged the soldiers unceasingly.
The next 2 days flew by and I hated to leave. His family felt like my family and I found it ironic that it took a war for us to meet and forge a bond. Without it I wonder if our paths would have ever crossed. Through the year long letter writing and emailing we shared a great deal. It will be odd not to write as much as it was such an integral part of my daily life. As I left Ft Riley for the return trip home I wondered what life will hold for all us.
From left to right: George, Stephanie, Nicolasa, Adrian
Kenny, Nicolasa and Adrian at Ft Riley
Serving In His Mighty Grip,