Monday, May 31, 2010

......fleet Week......

......for days we looked forward to Fleet Week.....it even made the summer list.....big ships, lots of excitement, hundreds of men and women in their uniforms,  awe inspiring sights to see....and the experience blew our minds.....

......I thought I would leave satisfied from a fun day, but I actually walked off the ship humbled and proud.....the event was incredibly moving....and made me appreciate all the more the men and women who choose to fight for our country.....



.......we weren't really sure what to expect when we got all the way over to the west side of the island.....but we stumbled upon one of the most massive ships I have ever seen that towered several stories high......various helicopters perched on the top and a steep walkway lead to a middle entrance for visitors to embark upon the floating village...... 




......once inside, we noticed that all branches of the military were representing the week.....inside the ship and to the amazement of the 4 toddlers that traveled with us, there were hummers, tanks, torpedos, guns, and enormous trucks.....

......each branch of the military would be stationed near the equipment that they use, ready to answer questions to curious visitors, offer a hand to a child climbing a tank 10 times his size or to ask a Momma if she wanted her picture taken....so our first stop was next to a group of marines that drive what is formerly known as a LAV 25, an amphibious infantry fighting vehicle......


.....the two boys that were with us were in testosterone heaven.....climbing into tanks, pretending to drive the vessels that transport and protect our military....



.....luckily for me, juggling 50 pounds of toddler on my hips, my girls' interest was mostly running around the ship.......inquisitively venturing to see the things that were eye level......


......this bell occupied their interest long enough so I could take a swig of water and catch my breath from running after the two of them darting in separate directions.....usually the case when strollers aren't permitted..... 




.....we met new friends.....


.....and got close enough to some trucks so we could climb around, spin the wheel and grind some gears.....




.......but Callie was in her typical flirty and festive mood.....


......and after a few pictures with soldiers, that is ALL she wanted to do......






.....she would bravely walk up to each one and turn around to wait for me to grab my camera.....She loves people and as much as it pains me to say it, she loves a man in uniform.....






.....but when it comes to the true importance of the day, I hope we documented our outing enough for my girls to look back so we can talk about it......all of the men and women that stayed in NYC for the week left an impression on all of us.......proud to discuss the jobs they do, serious about the flag they defend.....they were some of the most polite and honorable people I have ever come across......all of them were generous with their time, gracious in conversation, refined in stature......determined to educate children and adults alike......all of them away from their families- their wives, husbands, children, siblings and parents........not only on the long Memorial Day weekend, but for extended periods of time to go to distant places......all to serve a greater purpose and to acclaim our country.....  

......I wanted to give each of them a big hug and thank them for their selflessness and sacrifice.....it was easy to get the sense that all of the visitors of that ship felt the same way.....regardless of political party, views, or beliefs.......we all had the same acknowledgement for these men and women.....we live in a safe and free country because of what they do........it's for the betterment of our families and the families that will follow behind ours......it was inspiring to be around them and I left with my heart filled with gratitude.....


......Sara and I walked along the Hudson River toward the upper west side in silence.....reflecting on our day, drained from the excitement and bone tired from lifting, carrying, pulling, raising, squatting and lunging after our toddlers....

......and then we lifted our eyes and came across this oasis......


......an open haven of smooth concrete, confined space floating in the middle of the Hudson River for our toddlers to run and play.....I love finding pockets of the city that are new to us....

......we were sold on the idea of staying for dinner when we took note of pinot grigio and sangria on the menu......after all, it was happy hour.....



......new experiences to embark upon......water surrounded us, the cooling end of a hot day breeze smelled of a long weekend.....and Elsie and William could not get enough of the view.....



.....Fleet Week was an ideal way to kick off Memorial Day weekend.....a time to really appreciate and observe those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the United States.....

.....and it makes me feel especially grateful to have my girls close to me and safe....to have a husband that, although has been absent a lot these past few months; he is still home....and that is more than a lot of other families have right now.....

.......so today we honor all of those fallen men, women and their families too.....and close the weekend with some of our own family time......and savor the moments of togetherness.....

......because they are such gift....


No comments :