The surprises continued for my dear ole dad. About the only thing he knew about his retirement ceremony is that he was retiring. My brother had to jump through many, many hoops to secure the location. It's Veteran's Park in a small, non military town. You'd think it would've been easy to rent the place for a military retirement, but no. As luck would have it, that building in the background was our hotel. If not for that chance reservation, we'd have made it so much harder for all involved. That room turned into a food prep area, a dress rehearsal area, an overheated kids cool down area, a changing place for so many people!
My brother orchestrated the entire ceremony from a very specific military viewpoint. It turned out so beautiful. I never feel so patriotic as when I'm witness to such events. Jim was able to weave some Navy tradition in with the Air Force and we all got to see things we've not seen before. I gotta say, the Air Force song gets a lil old-although it was hilarious when the MC(Sean) asked the crowd to sing along and nobody(himself, nor the two Academy grads that have devoted a combined, what...80 years to the AF) knew the words. I'll gladly sit through a Navy Old Glory presentation, any time!
My dad didn't have any idea how many people were invited. Of the 100+ invited, I think we only had 8 regrets. As it turns out, he's a pretty popular guy, my dad.
The Honor Guard, with two of our own.
It was soooooo hot!!! I honestly thought somebody would pass out at some point during the ceremony.
The way they're holding hands...swoon!
Dr. David Wike. My parents pastor and my youth pastor. I also babysat his kids enough years ago to make me feel incredibly old when I see their pictures. My brother says he won't be able to wear his crowns in heaven, they'll be so heavy. A more genuine man does not exist and he means more to our family than he'll ever know.
My parents Sunday School class. These folks have quite the reputation. I know they mean the world to my parents and will be missed dearly.
Same for these ladies. They were our neighbors in Timmonsville. I grew up with them just down the road. They are one of those families that are so unique you want to be a part of it. Their girls are awesome and if I had girls, I'd raise them just the way Chris and Donna raised theirs. We're going to miss you, Rodenkirchens.
My brother-in-law's family. Jude is head over heels for Big Mike. It's adorable!! I think it's the mustache.
This lady is my mom's best friend of, what...40 years? 50? She's always been a part of our lives, but a bigger part lately. I feel like I've only really just begun to know her. We could NOT have done anything retirement party related without her. Thank you, Aunt Kathy!!
She's so shy.
This girl!!!! This girl that I hope will be my neighbor some day. I asked her if she'd mind taking a few pictures of the ceremony and everything I'm posting is thanks to her. I felt bad taking advantage, but I will totally return the favor when you throw your dad a jam up retirement party. You're kinda required to now that he's seen what my dad got for retirement. I promise you, I will show up with camera in tow and try real hard to get pictures like you took for us. We can't thank you enough for documenting this special day.
If you're in Charlotte and need pictures, look this girl up!! You will not be disappointed. Here's a link to her business Facebook page.
This was not the end and the surprises just kept on coming...