Chelsea contacted me several months before her dad was due to arrive home. Naturally, I was honored to be trusted with such an emotional milestone. As the time got closer, she finally got a date and a time. We got a two day notice and as luck would have it, I had reserve duty THAT weekend, but luckily, it was during lunch and my supervisor let me take a longer lunch when I told him what I had planned.
I looked back at them periodically and they were holding it together pretty well. The anticipation grew as we waited at the bottom of the escalator and stairs. Chelsea teared up the more we waited. It took everything out of me not to tear up myself and then there he was…
After some tearful hugs, I looked over and saw the wife calmly folding my flag and I could hear her tell Chelsea that they couldn’t let it touch the floor. She kept her eyes on her task, barely looking up… I walked over to take the flag from her assuring her that it was fine and she had more important things to do like hug her husband.
She looked up at him and that’s when it happened. All of the fear and worry that she held inside for so long was let go.
It was a beautiful experience that I’m so honored and proud to have been a part of it.
When I arrived at the airport waiting for the Scerri’s, there was another family waiting for their returning loved one. I spoke with this wonderful woman who told me they were waiting for her daughter. She was so anxious and it seemed like an eternity for them to be reunited. After I finished my homecoming session with the Scerri’s, I went back to “our” spot and found that the other group was still there waiting. How could I leave? We waited together.
I stood watch near the stairs and I finally saw a young woman in uniform making her way down the stairs. She looked serious and unbreakable. That is until she heard her mother cry out, “my ba-by”.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have a child deployed. Mother’s Day came a week later for this relieved mama.
And she soon found out her daughter booked them on a trip to Hawaii leaving the next day!
Thank you, Scerri and Lewis family for your sacrifice and service.
And thank you to OpLove for bringing us all together.