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What an incredibly awesome honor to get a personal invitation from the Deputy Director of the Georgia Army National Guard to photograph a departure ceremony at Fort Stewart on Sunday, 26 August 2012.
I drove to south Georgia to stay with my best friend, Shannon the weekend of this ceremony. I had a private photo shoot with her precious children and we laughed uncontrollably at times and ate some awesome food. I was up before her chickens woke up so I could get to this event on time.
Fort Stewart is a huge military base and of course I got lost; not once, not twice, but three times. Luckily a very nice lady pointed me in the right direction. I bumped into two of my students whose uncle was a part of this ceremony and then I actually bumped into two photographers I have worked with in the past whose son was a part of this ceremony.
The turn out of civilians was incredible. People brought cameras and of course I had mine in tow with business cards so I could capture families before they said good-bye to the soldiers.
I met a very nice soldier, (M. Thompson), who also took photos of this ceremony. He scared me when he walked up to me to ask if I was there to take pictures. When he approached me I thought, "Oh great! I'm going to get kicked off post and I haven't taken my first shot yet." :-)
The sky was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was warm and I felt blessed to be there. The soldiers never appeared uncomfortable standing for 30 minutes in one place. I don't know how they did it. I was all over the place with my camera taking as many shots as I could get.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through the shots below as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Hello Donovan Field! Nice to finally see you.
Soldiers marching from across the street to Donovan Field where the ceremony took place.
I had special permission to walk around this ceremony and capture any shot I wanted. What an honor!
Every head is bowed for a prayer.
I think shots of a soldiers boots are pretty cool.
All four of these ladies are cousins. GOOD LUCK TO EACH OF YOU and THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY!
Such an awesome, gorgeous couple. I fell in love with Mrs. Beuning. She was such a delight to work with.
A father's love for his children.
A soldier walked up to me while I was snapping shots of these awesome cooks and said something in my ear that of course was hilarious, but I cannot repeat his comments here. Before I knew it I was able to capture the poses from these silly people.
Once the ceremony was over, I drove to the Warriors Walk that I had spotted on my way through post. I was immediately drawn to the American flags that were blowing in the wind and the small stone markers. As I walked down the sidewalk, I could not help but think about the soldiers who gave up so much for our country, who were killed in wars that could have been avoided if this world only knew "PEACE," and those who sacrificed more than us civilians ever thought of sacrificing. What an incredible selfless act they have shown our country.
After my stroll through the Warriors Walk, I then drove back to Brooklet to be a part of my first "Peanut Boil." My best friend kept a really good secret from me and finally shared that her father-in-law is a peanut farmer, a cow farmer, a crop farmer and just an all out sweet man. After the peanut boil, I drove back to Fort Stewart to take more pictures of the soldiers and their families at the BBQ. And, I got lost about three more times; however, thankfully, an incredibly sweeeet soldier got in his truck and asked me to follow him where the BBQ was so I could take more shots of the soliders.
What a day for me to remember.
I did not eat "all" these peanuts, but sure wish I could have brought some home for the king of our house.
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