Bear with me, folks, while I gush for a few more days. I swear, I'll get back to yapping about spiders and farmer's markets, in due time.
So. The Homecoming Motorcade.
Did I say I was grateful? You stood on the streets in Pesotum, IL. Firetrucks, squad cars, and "townfolk" line the streets of Tolono, IL. Flags hung from firetrucks also, as the Savoy community lined up. And finally, you waved your arms and your flags at Brian & Steven from our own hometown, standing at main intersections in Champaign, IL, and coming together in front of our home yesterday morning.
I've never so much wanted to be so many places at once in my entire life. I wanted to ride with the motorcade, and still stand with each of you at every station along the way. I opted, finally, to play hostess in my own driveway, to watch that motorcade roll in. It was a very nice choice.
I had called Next Generation school 3 days before, located directly across the street from my home, and asked them if they'd like to have their kiddies join us Friday morning for a bit of applause. I didn't know if they had decided to participate.
It turns out that the students, parents, and teachers of Next Generation went above and beyond. At 9:15 a.m., I heard, from inside my house, the din of hundreds of little voices. I was in the middle of a TV interview in my living room, and I actually told the interviewers, "I'm not missing this." I excused myself to find hundreds of little kids, dressed in red white and blue, carrying signs, banners, and flags, finding their seats in the grass.
Although I had a telephone heads-up of the location of the motorcade, I still found myself surprised when the first squad car, driven by Brian's Dad, and carrying Michelle, Emily, and Dustin, rounded the corner and hit the sirens.
The crowd went wild when the boys pulled up to the end of the driveway, hugged Mama & Co., and then headed across to greet the kiddies.
The kids shook hands, and high-fived the boys, and presented their banners to them, one by one. One little boy, after shaking Moore's hand, actually told him "I'm never going to wash this hand again."
The vets in the Patriot Guard were thrilled to bring the boys in.
I personally hugged each of them. These guys usually escort fallen soldiers home, and when I told one of them, "I'm glad you can be here under these circumstances," he took my face in his hands and kissed my forehead. It's one more moment I will never forget, as long as I live.
There were other military parents present:
And children with patriotic hair:
And Mary. She is 85 years old, reads my blog and sent me messages and emails, and her sons have sent me message of support throughout Brian's deployment. It was the first time I'd met her, and I recognized her immediately, and ran for hugs. Her husband fought in the Korean War, and her son in Viet Nam. She knows. Mary knows.
First State Bank on Windsor and Galen has a marquis running this weekend:
Grandma! Grandma was there too, of course.
Brian talks. Steven, claiming shyness, opted out of speaking. I informed most of the reporters, ahead of time that he preferred not to talk. Every single one of them was respectful of him, and of my request. Kudos to all of the media that showed up. They each made me, personally, feel like they were happy to be there.
Best friends were present. My friend, Diane, whom Brian calls "Aunt Dee," along with her grandkids, Kaylin and Jaeden, helped me decorate the yard the night before, and they arrived early with donuts and coffee on Friday morning. It's Diane that I ran to when local soldiers fell, and Diane that grabbed her flag and stood at my side, waving and weeping at motorcades of a different sort. We both fell apart when Ours drove up yesterday morning, our prayers answered.
And flowers were left in my yard, along with bouquets of balloons, saying "Thank You."
And if I could get 10,000 Thank You balloons, I'd walk the streets tonight, and hand one to each of you. Because, I, I have been here, accepting your emails, and shaking your hands, and receiving your comments, telling me to tell my son Thank you.
I know how grateful you are, how you feel about my son.
And her son.
And his wife.
And his mother.
And her father.
And her husband.
And today, they know also.
And I can't thank you enough for coming out to show them, yourself.
They may not even know it yet, but you changed their lives, yesterday.
Oh. Did I say Thank you?