Saturday night we attended the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, held at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. Not a bad place for a party. (And the pre-ball cocktails and dinner in historic downtown was surprisingly classy. I was kicking myself for leaving my camera in the car for that one. I know.) The guest of honor for the evening was the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Amos. Kind of a big deal.
We've been to eight USMC Balls now in Shawn's ten years of service and two of them have been at this museum. I wore a maternity dress the last time and Shawn wore those same dress blues (minus most of the medals, bars and wings.) My how long ago that seems. Shawn will have to purchase a new dress uniform befitting his (soon-to-be) new rank in the coming year so I'm glad to have these photos. From his A&M graduation, his commissioning, his winging, to all those birthday balls, the sight of him in these blues has never failed to make my heart flutter with love and pride.
Early in the night we spent a good bit of time visiting with a retired couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty years ago they got married and then let the Marine Corps throw them a reception (complete with dancing and cake!) Meeting them, hearing their story, was a special kind of blessing I didn't expect that night. Later as we wandered around the darkened museum among World War II aircraft, four-star Generals, and flight students arm-in-arm with wide-eyed fiancés, I felt very much in the middle. Not so young, not yet old, just very much in the middle of so many years of history.
And if you ask me, the middle is a good place to be.