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|Tuesday, July 4th
- Happy Independence Day
There won't be any photos included
with this entry, because I just haven't had the time to download
and resize all of the photographs I've taken since Diane FINALLY
arrived at 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon.
I can't even begin to tell you the fiasco she went through since
leaving Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. I am now convinced that
my friend's tongue in cheek joke that DELTA means "Doesn't
Ever Leave The Airport", is indeed true. Without going into
too many details - because it will only anger me again - Diane (Dee)
spent TWO days in Salt Lake City. She now knows the SLC airport
like the back of her hand, and got to experience the hospitality
of two SLC hotels. She swore she was in a remake of the movie "The
Terminal". How does it happen that someone gets trapped in
a city? Take one airport that only serves a portion of the US's
larger cities, add in flights that are routinely overbooked by 10-14
people (especially over a holiday weekend), and a destination that
most airlines forget is actually part of the United States of America,
and this disaster was just waiting to happen.
July 11th - From the City of Brotherly Love to The Last Frontier
I've finally managed to sort through
the hundreds of photographs I took while Diane (Dee) was in town
visiting. What a terrific time we had exploring Alaska! I am so
grateful for the time we had together, and for the opportunity to
show her the wonders of the state I have come to love so much.
I think the best way to present the photos taken over the past
week would be to recount the entire adventure with more details.
My last entry gave you the highlights, so bear with me if some of
the information is repeated here. There are a lot of photos, so
I think I'm going to split this entry into several parts to save
my dial up readers from long download times.
July 15th - Extreme Makeover/Home Edition Comes to North Pole, AK
The following information was
taken from the Press
Release issued on July 7th
"EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION" TRAVELS TO NORTH POLE, ALASKA
AND DELIVERS A LITTLE CHRISTMAS IN JULY TO A SINGLE MOTHER OF
A THIRTEEN-MEMBER FAMILY
July 21st - Out and about with camera in hand
The past week has been relatively
uneventful. There's not much fun to be had when you're on the verge
of constructing an ark and gathering up Alaska wildlife in pairs.
Rainclouds seemed to park over Fairbanks and stay there - for days.
We finally started seeing sunshine late on Tuesday afternoon and
everyone's spirits lifted. Since then, the weather has been beautiful.
While the rest of the country seems to be melting in some of the
hottest temperatures on record, Alaska has been absolutely gorgeous.
July 24th - Golden Days in Fairbanks
This past weekend, Steve and I
stayed busy attending various activities in celebration of Golden
Days. Golden Days began as a way of collectively honoring Fairbanks’
past, and Felix Pedro's discovery of gold on July 22, 1902. Historical
and informative exhibits are at various locations throughout Golden
Days. Many favorite events are held, including the Children’s
Parade, Red Green River Regatta, a street fair, the Rubber Duckie
Race, & the Grande Parade. This year, Steve and I (and Rachael)
attended the Rubber Duckie Race and the Red Green River Regatta.
Rachael and I attended the Governor's Annual Picnic at Pioneer Park,
and Steve and I attended the WEIO (World Eskimo Indian Olympics).
It was a very full weekend, and the weather was absolutely perfect!
We're all sporting some color from being out in the sun.
July 27th - Stryker Brigade Extended
I can not begin to explain adequately,
the total chaos, devastation, sadness and anger that has blanketed
the 172nd Stryker Brigade family over the last 24 hours. Mere DAYS
from homecoming, CNN made an announcement that our soldiers were
being extended in Iraq for an unknown period of time. The media
knew about this BEFORE THE FAMILIES DID!
A friend of mine was making a "Welcome Home" banner with
her children when she saw the report on television. Can you even
imagine finding out that your husband is not coming home in two
days - as expected - and instead as been extended indefinitely?!
Why in the world were we not told before the news media announced
it to the world? The soldiers had no clue either; many were given
the news by their WIVES via email or telephone! Some of those soldiers
were assembled in Kuwait - waiting for the plane that would
bring them home to their families.
July 29th - Taking a deep breath...
I'm keeping this entry short,
because I'm spent. As expected, the past two days have been both
mentally and spiritually challenging for the army families who have
been impacted by this extension. I'm sure the soldiers who got this
news so suddenly had to do a bit of regrouping too. But now that
the news has settled in, and everyone has done their share of kicking
and screaming, and cussing and crying, it's time to focus our sights
on the days ahead.
I always knew that I had very strong military spouse friends, but
the past few days have proven it a hundred fold. Sure, we all felt
like the wind was knocked out of us, but we have no choice but to
pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move on. Some of my friends
have already started assembling the first of what is sure to be
many care packages. All we're waiting for is an address to ship
them to. The children - especially those who are old enough to understand
that mommy and daddy won't be here for their first day of school
- have pulled out their crayons and paper and have started working
on drawings and cards for their soldier parent.
We still don't know for sure if Steve will have to go back. If
he does, he knows that he won't have to worry about me. If he doesn't
have to go back, then I will give thanks to God for allowing him
to stay with me.
Whatever happens, I plan to always be here for my friends who have
to wait a few more months before they hold their soldier again.
Go to August
2006 Susan L Stevenson