Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 18, Ten Years Later

I saw Bonfire being built once, on an October Saturday in 1999. Just a few short weeks later, Texas A&M was all over the news because the stack had fallen in the wee hours of November 18th. I took a lot of crap from people I went to high school with, I spent a few hours worrying about friends on campus and if they were OK, and I got my acceptance letter a few weeks later and officially became an Aggie, it was a turning point in my life.

Freshman year I went to the memorial and cried the entire time, in the rain. I've only been to the official memorial once to read the inscriptions and stand on that hallowed ground and I've never seen the off-campus Bonfire burn, I'm waiting for the return of the real, official Bonfire to campus. When it does, I will go back to College Station from wherever I am in the world with child(ren) in tow. I will stand in the crowd of my kinsmen and cheer, celebrating the lives of all Aggies and the 'burning desire to beat the HELL out of t.u.'

I bleed maroon always, no matter where I live or how long it has been since I stepped foot on campus. I am drawn to buy maroon clothing and shy away from anything orange, even if I know I'll look good in it. I wear my ring proudly and 'scope' other people's hands for Aggie rings as well. When I see a fellow Ag, I know I am with family and feel perfectly at home. I know that, between my Aggie family and my Air Force family, I am never alone and am even more grateful when those families overlap. Non-Aggies are amazed when I go right up to someone with an Aggie ring and introduce myself, they just don't understand how I could walk right up to a General or a random person in an airport. But then again...

From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it.

Today I remember the twelve who died when Bonfire fell and the many, many more who have given their lives in the service of our country. After the service academies, Texas A&M has commissioned more officers in the armed forces than any other university. We have actually commissioned more officers than the Air Force Academy. We have a long history of loyal service to our God, our Country, and our University. I am proud to be a part of that history and hope that I make Aggieland proud of me. It is so much more than a school, it is the beginning of the rest of your life.

So in memory of Aggies past, in honor of Aggies present, and in hope for Aggies future, I answer, Here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

11 Months Already? (several weeks late)

Annelise, we had an amazing month together, going to water babies and running all over Misawa getting stuff done to prepare for our big trip back to the States. We started the month by sending Daddy off to Alaska, he spent a few weeks there and then went on to Florida. While Daddy was in Alaska, we helped Auntie Kim pack for her trip to Florida, and man was that tough! It took us alllll day to get her suitcases under the weight limit and then we had to help her mail a bunch of stuff. That was when we discovered your fear of packing tape, you cry every time you hear it being pulled off the roll. I don't really know where this fear came from, but we're dealing with it.

You got bucked off the couch this month, I'm still not sure how it happened but you ended up on the floor with a huge new bruise. You also conquered your first typhoon, which wasn't much of a typhoon at all since it went south of Misawa. We basically just got some wind and rain and lived to tell the tale.

Mommy spent a lot of time baking this month, our squadron sold cakes and other assorted fun stuff at the annual Misawa Air Fest. I made 40 cakes and then got to spend the day watching some really cool planes fly around. We walked to the air show with our Japanese neighbors, you loved that. The girls entertained you all the way from our house to the flight line, which is quite a trek. You got your first tattoo, an F-16 of course, and got to watch the Japanese Blue Impulse demo team and the USAF Thunderbirds! You're such a little Air Force baby, the sound of the jets didn't bother you a bit and you only got annoyed when you ran out of puffs to eat. After the air show, we got to see Mommy and Daddy's friend SLICK, who flies Thunderbird #2. We met SLICK and his family when we lived in New Mexico and I was very excited to get a picture of the two of you together.

We spent quite a bit of time cleaning up the house in anticipation of Babi and Grandaddy's impending trip to Misawa. They won't get here until you're almost a year old, but we had to do stuff far in advance because we took a quickly-planned trip to meet Daddy in Florida! Knowing that Daddy would be away from us for almost 2 months and that we now have access to a weekly flight to Seattle, we decided this was the perfect time for you to make another trans-Pacific flight. Preparation for this trip included cleaning up the house, throwing some clothes into a suitcase, and a lot of waiting around. We waited at the passenger terminal for several hours before finding out that we made it on the flight, then we spent a lot of time on planes in order to get to Florida. We flew from Misawa to Seattle, with a stop in Alaska, then we waited around in Seattle before we flew to Charlotte and then to Pensacola. Thankfully, Auntie Kim and Nana Peggy were happy to pick us up in Pensacola and entertain us until Daddy got off of work and drove over to retrieve us.

Once we finally got to our hotel, you had the best time playing with Daddy. He is still your favorite person and you completely light up when he gets home from work. Since we got here, you have taken your first steps and it is amazing to see you discover your surroundings from this new perspective.

Auntie Kim and Nana Peggy babysat you on the 24th so Mommy and Daddy could go out for my birthday, you had a blast and we ate some really good steak. You're such a parrot and had a blast mimicking Papa Wade and playing with little Brayton.

My next post will be all about our time at Disney World with the family, we had a wonderful trip and made some great memories!! I can't believe you'll be a year old soon, the last year has just flown by.