The parade itself was absolutely spectacular! Hmmm..come to think of it, this is the first time I've actually gotten to SEE the parade, haha! It was great, somewhere close to 100 entries, I think. :) Not bad for a little ole town! ;)
After the parade was over, one of our buddies came down to where our booth was located, and said, "Hey Kat, someone is looking for you over by the stage area!" Uh, OK... so I grabbed my crutches and started hobbling along in the general direction of the stage. I heard a lady call my name, waving and grinning at me, along with her hubby & kids. Hmmm.....OK, I don't recognize her, but she obviously knows me, so I must've met her somewhere before at some point, maybe another festival or something.....
Well, I hobbled over there, and they greeted me. I figured out who it was very, very quickly.... the man was holding a bag, from which he pulled out this:
(Edit - if the pic is "cut off" a bit (like it is in my browser), click HERE to see a pic of it)
Surprise, surprise... it was my very own adopted local special forces soldier, who just (within the past few weeks) came home from some undisclosed location somewhere!!!!! Heck, just meeting one of my "babies" is enough to make me cry immediately...but there was more. That flag there? He brought that flag back from Undisclosed Location for me. Starting way back around Christmas time, this was a project he worked on... he had the flag flown over our capitol here in Washington, DC, and then sent to him where he was, and it was flown over the U.S. Embassy there in Undisclosed Location... after which, it was folded and put in this beautiful case you see here, to be given to me. But wait, there's more! It also came with a Certificate of Authenticity from each location the Flag was flown over, and a Cert. of Appreciation from his Team. And in case I wasn't crying enough, I got my very own Special Forces Team T-shirt... this design is being discontinued following this mission, so he said it was a "special edition." I'm not sure whether to wear it or frame it! Here's a pic:
I'm going to go to Home Depot and get a special shelf for my living room to display our Flag on. It is a treasure that I value more than any piece of jewelry or anything else I own. I am humbled, and in awe that he went to so much trouble and months of planning to surprise me. Really, I don't know what to say.. I'm speechless, honestly.
And now, I'm going to wake hubby from his impromptu nap on the couch so we can go eat dinner, and watch some fireworks.
Have a stupendously happy Independence Day, y'all... don't forget to thank each and every soldier and veteran you see today, because THEY are the ones who made today possible!
PS -- OK, OK, one more edit.... My friend Michelle, who worked the parade with me, put together this photo montage of pics from the day. Hope you enjoy our parade as much as we did!