I had the wonderful opportunity and honor to photograph a military homecoming this past Saturday. I had never been to one before, and I was so excited to be a part of it. I pulled into the base and parked my car, and soon I found myself walking behind a little family. As soon as I saw their "Welcome Home Daddy" signs, my eyes started filling with tears. I wondered how I would even be able to see through my camera's viewfinder when the REAL reunions started!
The hangar was full of families waiting for their soldiers. I looked around and wondered how many times each family had said goodbye, and then anxiously awaited their soldier's return. I could not imagine the sacrifice each of them had made by supporting these amazing men and women who, themselves, sacrifice so much to keep our country free. Between the balloons, the flags, and the Army band playing, it was a festive and exciting atmosphere.
I saw these men enter the hangar carrying flags, and again tears began to well up in my eyes. They spread out across the open doorway and I could feel the love they have for their fellow veterans.
I photographed this awesome little family last fall, before this sweet little one's daddy deployed. She was a brand new, teeny tiny baby. She's grown up so much over all these months!
I'm can only imagine how excited he must have been to see BOTH his girls!!
When the plane was finally in sight, the crowd surged forward. Everyone could hardly wait to catch a glimpse of their soldier.
We weren't sure which direction he would be coming from, but soon we saw him making his way through the crowd.
I'm so glad they are finally back together!
Meanwhile, another little family waited for their soldier. I was so happy to be able to document a little bit of their wait as well.
When things got a little chaotic as the plane came into view, I lost her in the crowd, but what a wonderful reunion it was for this little family.
...and what fantastic support from a whole bunch of people who love these men and missed them so much.
I'm so happy for all these families and soldiers who've been reunited after months of separation. I'm grateful for the sacrifices they make in order for our country to be safe and free. I love the men and women of the military. Thank you to all the armed forces of our beautiful USA!