24 April 2015
He did it! Stan successfully passed and earned his “Expert Infantry Badge Test”. Out of 270, Stan was one out of the 34 who passed. It was a long cold morning. Stan left for his 12 mile ruck around 2AM and that’s about the time I fell asleep. Stan’s friend picked me up around 7:14 to drop me off at the award ceremony.
It was a pretty chilly this morning, especially since the metal bleachers had their backs to the sun. I had no idea what to wear to such an event. I always over think these things and I usually overdress. I was just going to wear shorts, t-shirt and sneakers but then again this was an award ceremony..? I almost wore a sundress (thank goodness I did not) I just ended up wearing khaki shorts, nice t-shirt and sandals. Once it was as I thought, very casual, phew… That’s all I need, “LT. Stan’s wife can’t dress appropriately!”
But guys are silly, originally Stan told me that his friend was going to pick me up at 7:14 but then Stan called me around 7:05 to tell me that he passed and that his friend will pick me up in twenty to thirty minutes…good thing I was already pretty much ready because Stan’s friend indeed arrived at 7:14. He must have thought I was loopy because I kept running back up and down the stairs for my water bottle, sandals and keys.
Anyway, once we arrive at the field (the same field where Stan and I had our grenade training) I had another small problem. There was about 50 soldiers mingling and getting prepared for the ceremony. (Just my luck, take it from the girl who can’t properly identify a car without an identifying mark and this is from a girl whose father is in the car business) I try again to break the ice with Stan’s friends (I’m not the most bubbly pop in the soda can) and I joke about how all you guys look the same. Cricket Cricket. Then of course me being me, I’m nervous that I had offended him since he had just told me he was from Puerto Rico…
I thanked him and headed for the bleachers and spotted Stan right away…or so I thought. I waved and he didn’t wave back, perhaps he didn’t see me? No, he did but it wasn’t him, Stan was standing in the back row. Whoops. Hopefully, faux Stan didn’t see my little wave. I feel so bad because I can never tell when I’ve met someone before. Seriously, it’s like that episode of South Park when all the kids join that cult and shave their heads.
The ceremony was simple but very inspiring. It started at 8, with the National Anthem. (And I don’t mean this as corny as it sounds, I sorely miss pledging allegiance to the flag. Something I haven’t done since Middle School.) I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to cover my heart or not. All the guys salute but are civilians supposed to cover their hearts? This took me back to 7th grade, at some point in Grammar school we stopped saying the pledge of Allegiance and I’m pretty sure it was before I, ah hem, developed. Because on the first few days of middle school I couldn’t remember how to cover my heart. I didn’t want to be obscene but I didn’t want to look stupid?? So, I ended up placing my hand under my chest onto my ribs. I quickly stopped that.
Then the Sargent Major of the post spoke about the importance of the award Stan was about to receive. Then I was able to approach Stan along with his Captain to help assist in pinning the pin to Stan’s chest. Then a bunch of guys came around and congratulated Stan. I was so proud, it didn’t matter if he passed or not…but it sure does matter now!
The closing ceremony was really great, we sang…Stan sang, his regiment song and then the Army song!
(I really need to learn those lyrics!)
Once back at home we had a quick breakfast and while Stan took a literal ice bath to sooth his tired body.
I was oddly freezing. Nothing could warm me, and my whole body was achy.
My only explanation was sympathy pains for Stan…