Old Glory

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our California Trip... May 2011

May 24, 2011 Tebo and I arrived in California to honor and celebrate Chad's life as well as show honor to his brothers.  It was phenomenal!  If something that sad can be phenomenal, this was it.  The USMC could NOT have been more gracious and loving to us and we felt like they were honoring us more than us honoring them.  The ceremony took place on what would have been Chad's 23rd birthday.  As hard as that might sound to have been for us, it was actually more peaceful I think than had we been home.  We had the ceremony, which was amazing all in itself, but Tebo and I wanted to thank Chad's brothers by providing a cookout for them and just to thank them for their service and for loving Chad like they do.  It was a huge success!  Those young men and their wives (those who are married) really let their hair down and relaxed.  They loved it and boy can they eat.  LOL!  Tebo grilled 52 burgers, 36 brauts, and 24 hot dogs and we only had 2 patties left.  We think there could have been close to 50 people show up in total and while not all ate and some ate a little extra, we had just enough food and I believe everyone had a great time.  Tebo and I had an idea before we left that we would buy as many Mountain Dew t-shirts as we could and hand them out at the cookout and take a big group picture.  The Mountain Dew t-shirts didn't really mean that much except Chad had one that he wore all the time.  He didn't even drink the drink, but he loved that silly t-shirt.  I use to tease him about wearing it all the time and people thinking that or his Braves shirt were the only two shirts he owned.  He so didn't care (which is a fabulous trait of his).  We all changed into our Mountain Dew t-shirts and took our group picture and had a ball with it.  What was so funny is I was shocked at how difficult it was to get a bunch of Marines into formation.  Really?  Isn't that what they are known to do?  Well, someone mentioned that sometimes it can take them 4 days of practice to get it right and I would just like to say that we did it in about 20 minutes.  Maybe they should hire me to be a new D.I.  LOL!  All in all the trip was amazing.  We had a great time and enjoyed seeing all Chad's buddies and just getting the chance to tour Camp Pendleton again (again for me, first time for Tebo) and visiting the cross where people (mostly Marines) leave items to honor the fallen that mean something special to them.  We were no exception.  It was very peaceful there and while I really did believe I was having a heart attack on the way back up the "hill" (I'm not so sure they didn't replace that hill with Mt. Everest before we got there), it was very rewarding to go and share that moment with those Marines.  I wouldn't trade the experience (or near heart attack) for that time at the cross for anything.  I have to say returning to AR was more difficult that I thought it would be, but we knew our bonus boys would be coming for a visit in less than two weeks so that gave us something more to look forward to.  I will write about our visit a little later, but I don't want to take anything away from our precious trip to California.  It truly helped us with some closure and to finally get a chance to wrap our arms around our bonus boys (and their wives) after a very grueling deployment.  Tebo and I can't thank these young men enough for doing all they could to take care and protect Chad.  They truly are brothers for life and that makes them our family for lives.  This includes their precious wives and babies.  We are more in love with all of them than we ever thought we were before.  We truly are blessed beyond our wildest imagination. 

At the Cross - Amazing

Our special Chad stuff we left (the guys left his picture)

Dinner on Thursday Night

Tebo & I with our boys

Our Mountain Dew Gang!


  1. I am so glad that your trip went so well. I know that my son enjoyed meeting you. I'm sure your visit was helpful to Chad's friend as well. I wanted you to know that Brian thinks you are amazing people, thank you for being there for them and for sharing it with us. Susan

  2. Awe, thank you Susan. He was just a doll. We officially love each one of them and couldn't imagine not having that time with them. It was seriously our pleasure and honor to be there with them. BTW, you will be happy to know that he is so polite and respectful and just a dream to be around. Ya'll have done a great job with him.

  3. Dang it, Sis - I thought you said you wouldn't make me cry anymore! You and Tebo are such special people. I am so honored to be a part of your family. Thank you so very much to your bonus boys for all they have done and to your precious Chad for his love, honor and dedication to this great nation. And thank you for your sacrifice and for "Wings For Our Troops". What an inspiration you are!