SBW at Simple Words I Understand, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote about watching a barge on the river that somehow reminded me of a memorable experience I had.
When Gunny was a young Marine he was returning from his first six-month tour of duty on a ship and Hubby and I went to meet him when the ship docked. So, we ended up standing on a dock in Norfolk, Virginia with lots of other military families, watching a huge ship come into port.
If you have never seen a military ship’s return home, it is a sight to see. As the ship slowly neared, you could see the railing on the main deck was lined with sailors in their white uniforms, all standing at attention. A band on the dock was playing patriotic songs including, of course, Anchors Away and the Marine Hymn (ships always have a contingent of Marines as well as sailors). American flags were being waved. Some people were waving “Welcome Home” signs. Smaller children were on shoulders to give them a better view. And, as the ship got very close, a cheer started from the crowd that quickly swelled into a beautiful cheering roar!
It was a surreal experience. It really did feel like we were on a movie set, taking part in a scene like ones I had seen in movies all of my life of families welcoming soldiers home. And, it made me feel very patriotic and proud and teary.
It was especially touching to see the young mothers with small children, and see in their faces how thrilled they were to have their husbands back. And, there were many proud parents like us too. Lots of unabashed tears in lots of eyes.
It felt very all-American and, at the same time, timeless. A scene that has surely been played out millions of time through the course of history.
A unique experience that I will always remember.
Thank you God, for all the people who serve in our military. May they always be met with smiles and tears and gratitude for what they do for us.