We went to the base in three waves of cars...great plan. Anything forgotten had two chances to make in. The day began early....
|Stacia and Arielle|
Creating a banner
Before the Ceremony
|Arielle's kids were happy to see her - Emma says, "hey"|
Ed showed up early and finished the transformation of the annex. He had a vision and made it come to life....Ch. Lowe gifted us with the food for the reception. We are blessed.
|David Lynn - from our first assignment|
|Holly & Me|
Joy was excited to see me. "Gemma De'Etta can I sit with you." Rachel said no. When Larissa was going to take a picture she told me, "Gemma De'Etta, my Mom says you have to do this (hand to face) when you take a picture."
|Stacia, Joy and Gemma De'Etta|
|Jared and Alex|
|Izaak and Bre|
|Mom and Dd|
|Dakota and Izaak|
|Michael & Matt|
|Ed - a huge blessing|
Then it was TIME. Many emotions as these 24 years come to an end.
Escorted in and it begins
|Kenley and Britny sang The National Anthem|
Matt emcee'd the ceremony. There was a glitch with the script when a last minute change was added and he ended up adlibbing much of it. I'm impressed.
Ch. Sather officiated
Honor Guard enters
Chaplain Lowe gave the invocation
Ch. Sather awards the Meritorious Service Medal
There were letters and certificates of appreciation from various places. Notable to us was a letter from former President George W. Bush.
Ch. Simmons (our endorser) said a few words and read a letter from Randal Bach - Open Bible's President.
I pinned on his retirement pin.
I received letters from the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Chief Master Sgt of the Air Force
Michael presented the children with a letter of appreciation from Col. Stricklin - Vice Commander of the Base
Ch. Tangen and Sgt. Lehner presented Michael with an amazing Shadowbox from the Chapel Staff.
Michael said a "few" words
Michael gave me some roses
He also gave each of the kids and me a gift - multi tools for the boys and pearls for the girls. A telephoto lens for me.
Ch. Sather blessed the family
And it was over.
Note Joy between Nolan and Stacia. She wanted to be with the family.
Rachel - my friend - Joy's Mom, Matt's wife along with four other darlings
Arielle gets to hold Eliana for the first time
We will sure miss Lee, Nikki and Maria....
Father Kiernan and Michael
Cynthia and Michael
Jennifer and me
Michael and Megan
We cut the cake and discovered it was not chocolate
Elise was watching the photo taking and wanted to be in a picture. We happily agreed, and she pushed me out of the picture....
Dad, Mom, Me and Michael
Cynthia, Me and Michael
Some of our favorite chaplains - Ch. Simmons, Ch. Sather and Ch. Lowe
Obviously, there are many emotions and thoughts about this transition - but that this point - this is all I have. It's very odd to know that Michael will not have to go to work next week. I'm sure life will be full of adjustments; big and small. Mostly, we're thrilled to have more time together. I'm pretty sure Michael will eventually start writing more on the blog.