Saturday, September 11, 2010

Real Life GI Joe

This past week, we spent time in Ft. Benning, GA, for Daniel's Basic Training graduation. With the Hursts, that's a lot of people..fifteen to be exact...a lot of people! It started early Tuesday morning, with Derrick getting the boys up-around 4-to start driving. They were SO excited the night before to get to bed because Daddy was getting them up early to go on a road trip...they made it just fine, and later that day my dad took Natalie and I to the airport to catch a five o'clock flight to Atlanta. She did GREAT on the flight..smiling, cooing, giggling at everyone around her-even our seatmate who didn't look super thrilled to be next to a lady with a squirmy baby. Cheerios, puffs, and an hour and a half later, we were off the plane. Derrick and his dad picked us up and we headed for the hotel. Wednesday, it was up and at 'em to head to the base for the beret ceremony. Here the guys are in their dress uniforms and they get their berets. After they got their berets, we were able to find Daniel and see him for the first time since July. It was GREAT! The boys were in such awe, and Patty and Keith were so excited to be reunited with him. After the reunion, Daniel showed us around the base. He showed us the chapel, and then we drove over to the PX-like a "mall" for the military guys and families. We went out to lunch at Applebee's, and then headed back to the hotel. While he was spending time with his girlfriend and another couple, we took the kids to the pool for awhile. After dinner and some more talking, he had to go back to the base. Thursday morning we went back to base for graduation. It was interesting. First an Army band came out and marched and played some patriotic songs. They had some historical and background stories being told over the PA, and some soldiers dressed in uniform from the Revolutionary War through current day war. Then about twelve solders came out in full gear, and did a battlefield simulation, which was very cool. After they reached the bleachers and lined up, the announcer pointed out their gear and told what each piece was for. Matthew and Lucas were so enthralled by the "real life GI Joe men"..too cute! Finally, the Alpha and Echo companies came out in platoons and went through some logistical things, and were "graduated". Each platoon marched towards the bleachers and around the field, so all the families could get a good look at their soldier. After graduation, we headed to the Infantry Museum on base. This was very neat, too. It had a lot of displays of war, and what basic training is like. We were there for about an hour, then we went out to lunch. After lunch, it was back to the hotel and we visited with Daniel some more. Time went so fast, and it was time to take him back to base. We saw them line up as platoons and do some cadences and get their orders. It was hugs and goodbyes and back to the hotel for us and to bed for him. We left early Friday morning to drive home, and Daniel flew out to MO for his AIT training. It was such a great family time!