Having grown up in a “miliarty town” you always hear of at least one military story on the news. I went to school with so many kids who had at least one parent in the military. I had friends growing up who had a parent deployed. However, I never managed to experience a deployment. Today was a first for that.
Chris and Chelsea Brooks went through their first going away ceremony and start of deployment for the first time in their married life today. The ceremony took place at Bridneck Elementary and lasted about 20 minutes. The next 25 minutes, the 529 unit of the Army National Guard based out of Virginia Beach spent time saying their goodbyes to their families. Before anyone knew it, the unit had formation at 10:45.
Chris and Chelsea walked down the hallway together – hand in hand – ready to face the next 9 months of their newlywed (and soon to be new parents) life apart, but together at heart. Having never experienced a deployment ceremony myself, this was all completely new to me. It tore at my heart to watch the families say goodbye – little kids, pregnant wives, husbands, moms and dads. It was all so surreal and so sad.
The most amazing part for me was to see the love that Chris has for Chelsea and Chelsea has for Chris. The looks, the smiles, the embraces all held so many unspoken yet loving emotions. He doted Chelsea up until the minute he had to hop on the bus for the airport. And Chelsea was as strong as anyone could expect and hope. She smiled through it all and didn’t shed a tear until Chris was on the bus. Her strength was beautiful.
Chris – thank you so much for your service. Thank you a million times over for risking everything to continue to give the citizens of the USA the freedoms we all enjoy. God speed and safe travels! We can’t wait to see you soon (for your daughter’s birth!) and for you to return home from your deployment in 9 months!
Chelsea – you are truly an amazingly strong woman. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to call us! We’re just a quick trip down the road from you and willing to help any time – especially while Chris is deployed.