One of the greatest thrills in life is a simple one. A man ducking his head, walking off a bus and stepping foot onto a dusty ground below a midday sun. Just a few yards away are his wife and his child, anxiously and carefully studying the faces of each man making his way to the crowd. Imagine you are that man, or that wife, or that sweet innocent baby. You've waited several months for this moment and despite the phone calls and emails, nothing could prepare you for the pure elation of once again being held in the arms of your loved one. An elation you feel pulsing through your entire body. The simple and powerful thrill of love reunited.
I stood beside my cousin Nicole as she softly let out, "There he is." Before I could blink she was in Billy's arms and he was lifting her up. She tightened her grasp around his neck and shoulders, burying her smile into his body. When she pulled her face away she looked so serenely happy-- calm and relieved. Finally Billy was home, finally he was safe. Finally she had her husband back and little Nathaniel, who was only 6 months old when his dad deployed to Afghanistan 8 months ago, had his daddy back. The three of them embracing was a remarkable thing to witness. So much love, so much joy. I'm glad I was there to experience Billy's homecoming with my family and to document it in photos.
When given the chance, don't forget to thank our military families for their selflessness and sacrifices. It's not always an easy life but it's a proud life.
The first sight of the bus coming through the front gate at Twentnine Palms! (towards the middle of the photo, behind the orange netting)
Their gear is here!
Nicole and her huge smile!
"There he is..."
Uncle George needs his hug, too!
I love the way Nicole is staring at Billy in this shot :)