Monday, September 23, 2013 attend the deployment ceremony

...and to appreciate the pomp and circumstance.

Today was the unit's deployment ceremony.

It was a sunny, crisp fall morning.  Perfect day in the north country.

Its hard to describe what the point of a deployment ceremony is for...I am certain there are many official reasons but as a spouse it means: an opportunity for the community to show support (there were several official dignitaries present), for the unit to demonstrate readiness (for the family members present), and for the unit flags to be 'cased'.  This means that the unit is done with its purpose here at Fort Drum and when the colors arrive in Afghanistan they'll be 'un-cased' and will fly again to mark the unit's mission and purpose there. 

Each of the battalion's flags were cased (there are six battalions).  You can see one of the battalions in the background of the photo below AND you might also notice the flag is now canvased.

And last, the Brigade flag was cased.

The flag is being rolled

The canvas is being place over the flag
The Anthem is played at the beginning of the ceremony and the 10th Mountain Division song is played at the end.  Last, the Army song is played to conclude the ceremony.

It was a really nice ceremony.  In case you are wondering, it took about 40 minutes.  The soldiers did not march...they were all already in place when the guests began to arrive.

I wish I had gotten a photo of all the soldiers in place.  It is really quite impressive to see the big picture.

However, my vantage point was quite limited and in that formal of a setting it isn't exactly appropriate to stand up and zoom to the front to capture Kodak moments.  It took all of my will power not to stand up and do this.  Something tells me someone may have noticed if I had done this.... particular the guy third from the left
It's hard to describe the emotions I went through today.  
  • Of course I am proud.  So proud.  I wish I could express this more eloquently.
  • I am confident.  I know that Mark is a great husband and father no matter how far away he is.
  • I am worried.  Worried about our kids.  They are tough...that is true.  But they are also very deep thinkers.
  • I am sad.  So sad.  My heart breaks each time I watch him give one of our children a kiss.
This morning I watched as one of our neighbor's walked his little girl to the bus stop.  She is about Isabella's age.  I realized almost right away that this was his good-bye.  As the bus was arriving that little girl jumped into his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck so tight.  I think she was trying to give him a hug that would carry him through the long nine months he was to be away.  That hug...that goodbye...broke my heart.

I have no idea how I am going to watch our four babies bravely let their daddy leave again in a few short weeks.

I think my heart is going to break many times more.

he's third from the left again...


  1. I am so, so sorry you all have to say goodbye again. It doesn't seem fair. :( The only "good" piece is that it'll hopefully be the LAST time!! You can start counting down the months to all of the wonderful family time that awaits!!!! Also, completely unrelated... but Mark has the best salute. :) It's funny to catch them saluting in a picture because you can see all the differences. But Mark looks spot-on! I'll call you soon to catch up. Thinking of you all... and sending love!

  2. Wish I could do anything to help and make you and the kids smile for a moment. And Mark too.