I had great plans to write this post on Monday night. Then on Tuesday I planned to write it, but from a very different angle. Today, I finally have some time to sit down and try to do this post justice.
20 years ago due to an airplane malfunction 4 Washington State Air National Guardsmen lost their lives on Geilenkirchen Air Base.
I was asked to help with the execution of the memorial service. This being my first event of any scale I was on edge. 75 people had flown from the US to honor their comrades and family members lost on Jan 13, 1999. There was a 20 minute ceremony and a lunch that I was responsible for. Though the weather didn’t cooperate, the entire day went off without a hitch.
I didn’t realize how much of myself I had invested into the event until Tuesday morning. We forgot Ana’s book bag at the house (thanks to Zed for running home to grab it), forgot my cell phone at home (a whole day without a cell phone is hard), after my shower from the gym I realized I hadn’t brought boot socks or an uniform shirt, oh and I left my hat in my car so I got to do that walk of shame.
As I walked out the of gym in a smelly uniform shirt, with no hat on, and ankle socks I saw the school bus pull up. At that moment I just needed a hug from my girls. I got two amazing hugs before they headed off to school with their pony tails wagging behind them and went back to my car to figure out what had just happened.
Why was I in tears at 830am over such trivial things? It was then I realized how much effort I had put into this event to ensure the family and friends of ESSO 77 had a memorable time. For some of them this was the first time they had ever been to GK and for others the first time they had been back since their squadron mates had passed away.
It was also then that I remembered the importance of hugging those you love and making sure they know how you feel. And finally, it was when a new friend tapped on my window to ask if I was ok and gave me a hug.
So to ESSO 77, thank you for your service to not just the nation, but serving with NATO means you’ve provided service to the world.
Articles if you want to learn more about ESSO 77.