Unexpected Vistor

I had planned on entertaining you with tonight’s Latke Feast. Instead I will save it for tomorrow. There are also a few more people on this email note than normal, just because. If you are one of those and want a regular update, please let me know. This is one of those which you can forward or share as you see fit.

Unexpected also explains why I am writing this email and posting it well after midnight, rather than being home snug in my BHUT.  I also thought about different ways of expressing both the ideas of visitors and experiences and finally decided to just follow Rawlins Cross’s recommendation – from the Heart to the Head to the Hands.

3800 service members give or take a few

3800 service members give or take a few

There we were, all packed into a hanger after formations, hanging out in a long time, security checks and legally leaving my weapon back in the BHut. Since, as is obvious, I could not see squat from the floor, I joined a number of others in the task force who lucked upon a great perch.

hanging on the MRAP

trying to be high enough to see anything

There was an intro by General Petraeaus,

the Four Star introduces

the Four Star introduces

And we had the President on stage.

you can see him?

you can see him?

Now, a close up is probably better

addressing the crowd

addressing the crowd

And it would have been nice to have had a better camera or a more stable perch.

Having listened to various politicians in the past, I was impressed. No matter what you think of his politics or policies (liberal democrat here), the man can speak. He is clear, coherent and limits his remarks to what is relevant to the audience. No politicking; just thanks for all the hard work and risks, a reminder that the US population is behind the military and an appreciation for the sacrifice that everyone in that cavernous hanger was making. He also made no promises that there was not hard work ahead.

He had been to the hospital first, only right, speaking both with the wounded and the platoon that was so devastated earlier this week. 

on the floor with everyone trying to get handshakes

on the floor with everyone trying to get handshakes

I didn’t push through for a hand shake; there were too many junior soldiers to whom it was important. The military is diverse, religiously, ethnically. That was reflected in the overwhelming response and appreciation.  It really isn’t trite, it is important to all of us that the person who commands us comes to see us. You could see it in everyone’s face and hear it in the comments.

I thought I would end as I had planned on beginning  

lighting candles

lighting candles

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15 Responses to Unexpected Vistor

  1. Alison says:

    WOW. THANK you, Holly! That’s way better than seeing the news reports of it!

  2. Linda says:

    thank you so much – I was hoping you were included in the President’s visit somehow. When I heard the report about his stopover on NPR earlier today I immediately thought of you – your messages are making the war so much more real and so much more personal.

    thanks for including me.

  3. Alison says:

    What a report! What pictures! How cool! (I should let you go to bed now!)

  4. Bonnie says:

    Cool. I do believe you are standing next to another former hospital commander of mine (and wedding guest attendee). Tell her I said hi!

  5. Allison says:


  6. Mitch says:

    I read the story on line and immediately thought of you. I am glad you had the opportunity to see the President.

  7. Berg says:

    I watched Obama’s speech today and you are right, he can speak. …. I am glad that he did visit as he should as the CinC, and the young troops will remember the visit for the rest of their lives. Most of all, I am both pleased and impressed that he visited the hospital first and spent time with the platoon. I suppose that I have become both cynical and distrustful of all politicians so I will end with my gratitude that he did the right thing at the right time and said the right things.

  8. Steve says:

    Thanks, Holly. I’ve shared it with Jacqui and the boys.

  9. Angeluna says:

    Wow, Holly. Thanks for all the photos. I was going to write and ask if you had a chance to meet The Big Boss. He has a warm and easy air about him, very charming.

    I loved seeing the diverse faces of all the people you work with. That one photo was an incredible sea of camouflage.

    Again, Happy Hanukkah. Wonderful that you have people to gather with.

  10. Kathie says:

    Great Pictures….Thanks for sharing.

  11. Pat says:

    Wonderful pics!

  12. Cat says:

    Because I knew to look I caught a glimpse of you on the television reports…makes me wonder what sort of reception our Prime Minister got from our troops. I doubt it would have been as enthusiastic.

  13. Linda says:

    ABC News had footage of the visit and the camera panned around the room. There was a quick shot of your group on your perch – I think I saw you, but only because I knew where to look.

  14. Berg says:

    Candle lighting very cool and brought back memories of me doing it in combat zones past; thanks

  15. Ruth says:

    Oh, I do love the pictures! Shabbat Shalom, Holly. May it be a day filled with peace

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