“It is better to fight for something than live for nothing.” – General George E Patton

Homecomings always tear at my heartstrings. My dad was military, but I never remember the ceremonies that they do (not to say they didn’t do them which they might have – I just don’t remember them). I love that I am able to capture all the excitement and love that is always at these ceremonies. And this ceremony was no different. Actually it was more emotional than I had expected.

Samantha contacted me, and we got it all scheduled. At first DJ, her husband, was supposed to be home on Monday in the morning…then it got changed to the evening. Then to Tuesday, very early in the morning and so on and so forth. After changing it 8 times, it was finally scheduled for Friday, mid morning. Thanks to a few amazing people and a client who was super flexible, I was able to make all the changes work. So when I got there Friday, I could tell Samantha was ready for DJ to be home. It had been such a whirlwind, and with the military it is always like that. It is hurry up and wait…I truly don’t know how the significant others of the people who are deployed do it. I am one who wants to know what is going to happen, and when things change in my personal life, my stress level goes through the roof. So it always amazes me how strong and amazing these spouses, like Samantha, are. Finally the time comes, and they inform everyone to sit down. It was a big group, and so we were not sure we would be able see him in this sea of soldiers. After the first song played, Samantha spotted DJ and tried to point him out to the kids, Aspen and Chandler. The kids were in awe and I think a little overwhelmed because there were so many things to see and so many feelings going on. Chandler was precious and warmed up to me real quick. Aspen was quiet, but once we walked over to get some popcorn and water, she started to loosen up some. Those kids are just precious. When the soldiers were released to see their families, I loved watching the families reunited, running with their arms open wide. Samantha looked absolutely gorgeous in her red dress with matching nails. Her tears welled up in her eyes when she saw CJ in the group of soldiers. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy seeing these soldiers come back to the people that have to continue life without them for months on end.

Military families are so strong and so loving. I am thankful I get to capture just a glimpse of that at these ceremonies! It is truly a privilege to be involved in these special moments. Thank you, Samantha, for reaching out and allowing me to be there for your family…also thank you for trusting that I would get the shots that you wanted!

         

Love,

Mandy Penn