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At the beginning of April, Andy re-enlisted in the Army for the second time! It’s hard to believe he’s been in long enough to re-up twice, but he has! We originally thought he wouldn’t re-enlist until next spring, just a few months shy of the re-enlistment window closing, which would buy us more time to reach a decision. However, the surprise Recruiting school orders meant a decision needed to be reached about re-enlisting in just 3 weeks’ time. We ended up committing our lives to the Army for another 4 years and although I may have had a teeny bit of “What the heck are we doing?!” I know God has a plan for us and we feel like, for now, His plan is for us to still be a military family.
Now, on to to the good stuff: the ceremony. When we first began talking about Andy’s re-enlistment, he and I started tossing around some ideas on how to make it “totally awesome.” In the Army, re-enlistment ceremonies are a big deal for many soldiers; many of them compete among their friends on who to have the “coolest” ceremony ever. I’ve heard of soldiers re-enlisting on the flight line with Black Hawks behind them, in the gas chamber, standing on top of a tank, at a video game store, etc. The week before Andy’s re-enlistment, a combat engineer in his battalion re-enlisted with a MICLIC explosion occurring in the (far off) background.
Anyway, with Andy’s re-enlistment, he decided that he wanted me to pick where we would have the ceremony, since I wasn’t at his first re-enlistment ceremony that was a few weeks after we started dating (which allowed him to move to Kentucky.) My first suggestion, which was to re-enlist on the top of a roller coaster, was nixed instantly. (How my husband can rappel out of a perfectly good helicopter yet can’t ride a roller coaster is beyond me :P) My second choice was to do something uniquely “Kentucky”, something that we wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else. So, I settled on having it at President Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace. It’s a short 45 minute drive south of Knox, in Hodgenville, KY and was actually on our “Knox Bucket List” that we’re scrambling to finish before we move.
Andy, his LT, and the platoon drove down for the ceremony. Coincidentally, Andy’s mom had called the day before and asked if she could meet us for dinner as she drove down South. She joined us for the ceremony and a late lunch at Colton’s afterwards.
There was just teensy problem: apparently, none of us thought to check on the Lincoln birthplace ahead of time, so when we arrived, we were shocked to discover the gorgeous front steps (a mini-Lincoln Memorial) were under renovation! I had already had it in my mind how exactly I wanted to photograph the event, so it was a bit of a scramble to find another suitable location. We ended up having it along the side of the building, which was not nearly as pretty but doable nonetheless 🙂
During the ceremony, the LT presented me with a certificate to thank me for supporting Andy in his career. I always joke that I never committed my life to the Army, just to my husband, but since I now have a certificate, it must be legit 😉
I didn’t realize it until I was taking photos after the ceremony with Andy, but I was absolutely shaking with nerves the entire time! When Andy (privately) asked me how I was feeling, I blurted out, “I think I have buyer’s regret!” Apparently, I was so nervous I forgot the correct phrase, haha!
A fun little story about both Andy’s uniform and my outfit: We picked out each other’s clothes for that day. I specifically asked him to wear the “old gray” uniform (aka, UCP’s/ACU’s) because it’s my favorite; it brings out the flakes of gray in his eyes. Plus, the Army will be retiring the UCP’s at the end of this fiscal year, so it’s his last chance to re-enlist in them! He agreed, because he knew everyone else would be wearing OCP’s (the new camouflage pattern) and he wanted to look different…. well, as different as you can when you’re wearing a uniform 😉 I let him pick out my outfit, and he settled on this white lace dress and the earrings I wore for our wedding. I actually wore the dress at my bridal shower and it was my “backup wedding dress” in case we needed/decided to elope 🙂 Andy said I looked beautiful and reminded him of our wedding day 🙂
Even though this life is sometimes challenging, we’re both grateful for the blessings it has given us. We’re excited for the adventure ahead! 🙂