Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When Everything Goes Right

Do you ever look back over a period of time, or series of events, and delight in how everything went right?  People enjoyed one another's company, the weather cooperated, the event(s) went off without a hitch, and even an unexpected surprise sneaked in, just in case you weren't already happy enough. For slightly more than 48 hours last week, Drew and I experienced just that.

Our nephew, Lt. Colonel John Wesley Spaid VI, known to the family as "Wes" and to his squadron as "Ugly," (can't imagine why) assumed command of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 at Marine Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina on Friday.

We, along with extended family and friends were invited to attend.  We didn't think twice. I have known Wes for 40 of his 42 years, while Drew has known him from birth.  We were present at his wedding to Nicole, celebrated the birth of their three children, and have watched with interest and pride his distinguished twenty-year career in the Marine Corps. Of course, we would be among his supporters!

Neither of us had ever attended a military ceremony and had only a vague idea of what to expect, except that it would be impressive -- uniforms, flags, precision marching, spit-and polish -- came to mind. As we took our seats behind Wes, Nicole, a colonel, a row of lieutenant colonels and their wives, the sight on the tarmac was dramatic. Three huge Osprey aircraft were front and center, flanked by more in the background, while gleaming instruments and stirring melodies of a military band filled the air.


Then in a seamless transfer of leadership, Lt. Colonels Harshberger (right) and Spaid met, and placed their hands on the squadron flag. The outgoing commander relinquished the pole, while the incoming one held fast. As quickly, as peacefully, and as symbolically as that, lives changed.


Following the ceremony, a slew of Alexanders - mother DeLyla, cousins Jeff, Grace, Steve and Andy, along with Uncle Drew and Aunt Twylla - gathered around Wes and his family for a picture.
Our presence, another symbol. Support. Respect. Love.

Before an evening celebration, we scattered for a few hours of leisure time.  I went to a nearby park to soak in the warmth of North Carolina spring.  There were at least ten benches dotted around the green space. I could have picked any of them but decided on one, for no particular reason. I was getting ready to sit down and looked to my left, again, for no particular reason.  A white concrete path led to a large circular design, which looked more than vaguely familiar.  A labyrinth!
(For those of you who know about my labyrinth journey, you will understand my surprise and excitement.)

And on this day, when we had witnessed Wes embark on a new path, I entered the labyrinth with a smile and deep gratitude.    



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