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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Too excited to think of something clever to call this post 

Sometimes I thought this day would never come, but we are finally counting down in hours. One more wakeup, and this chapter in our lives is over.

You gotta love modern technology. One of the attorneys Fred worked with this past year just sent me a picture taken 2 hours ago of him at the airport waiting for his ride home:



She also sent a very nice letter with the subject line "Papa Bear heads home." It was so sweet that it got me kind of choked up, and I have to share some of it here:

Bonnie,

We are sending him home to you. . . . Safe to say that this time tomorrow he will be where you are and those that have served with him these past many months will breathe a collective sigh of relief. It has been hard for you all and we truly appreciate your sacrifice. Thank you for the tremendous support you provided us through your care for him.

I was thinking about the past ten months and what it has meant to have COL Taylor as a role model and safety net. I then thought of your family and the empty space in your world during this time. It is selfish for us to be overly sad at his going, but people are naturally selfish. Working for your husband has been the single most meaningful experience of my career. I hope that I am able to do him justice as I continue to serve my country in the shadow of the high standard he has set. In his quiet way he made us brave and strong. He taught us to believe in ourselves and maintain our professionalism in the face of foolishness. I am sure that you know better than I the make of the leader I have followed for what feels like too short a time. I just wanted you to know....
It's funny. I've been so focused on getting him home to us, I never really stopped to think of what his leaving might mean to those left behind down range. I wish I could wave my magic wand and put them all together with their families tomorrow morning as well.

I feel like there should be some sort of reckoning, some sort of evaluation, perhaps an after action report to sew the year up neat and tidy, but I'm not even sure where to begin. As my dad would say (and you'd have to ask him who he's quoting), some days were diamond, some were stone.

We hung tough, and we hung together. Far from simply not being a burden, the kids were my rock, the ones who kept me sane when the other option seemed so much more attractive. We found resources we never knew we had, but I wouldn't recommend the experience to anybody. That which does not kill us may indeed make us strong, but first it hurts, and sometimes it hurts really bad. When it stops hurting though . . . wow, it feels like the whole world is brand new.

Comments:
WOW!!! You all must be beside yourselves with excitement!!!! I can't wait to see the reunion photos and story. That is... when you finally pull yourself away to actually post about it. *wink*
 
Bonnie I am wiping tears here. I am SO thrilled for you all that Papa Bear is coming home!! (we won't expect to see you for a while) How thin are those walls?
 
A very moving post. You should be proud of yourself and you family for staying strong.
 
Congratulations !! I know your excitement all too well. My husband was there for 7 months from the Halloween before the beginning of combat to June after "major combat" was over. It was so hard, you have done our country a great service and your sacrifices are well appreciated. I've been reading your blog for a while now and read all of the archives as well. I like reading about your family because of the similiarities we encounter from the military. Many hugs from our family to yours.
 
Tears in my eyes reading your post.
Hope the twelve hours left flies by! I bet time is moving so slow for you guys.

Hugs to all of you!

claire
 
So glad your time in hell is over and Papa Bear will soon take his place at the hearth! I know all too well the excitement and relief you are feeling. Thirty-six years hasn’t dimmed the happy memory of a Viet Nam homecoming! Let’s hope that soon our crazy world can become sane and no more wives and children will ever again have to bid farewell to husbands / fathers as they depart for a foreign soil. With tears in my eyes and love in my heart for you and your family! Suzie
 
Is he there yet? Is he is he?
Oh, you might be, ahem, busy.
well, when you get a chance, let us know....
 
He's here! Wow, it feels great to have him back. We spent the afternoon running errands and just went out for schnitzel and his first real beer since February. :-)
 
Fred, that note makes says so much about you, not only as an officer, but as a person. I am so proud of your accomplishments!!!!
 
Having worked for Fred for an all too short time, I can say I understand the feelings of his troops.

Glad you're home Fred. Let's hope you don't have to repeat this experience anytime soon.
 
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