Sunday, September 29, 2013

An Unforgettable Night

It's been close to a year since I've visited my own blog... a sure sign that we've moved again and I'm still trying to find my groove. As a military wife of 13 years it seems I should be getting it down by now, but it feels like I'm getting even slower at each transition. But last night I got to be part of an experience that reminded me in a very powerful why we keep doing this.

A few weeks ago when I checked the junk box in my email, I found a message that kind of knocked me over. It was from an officer in the Navy down in Florida, inviting me to play the national anthem at an important military ceremony. Turns out he had found my recording of The Star-Spangled Banner on iTunes. I think he was as surprised that I responded as I was that he had written (see my first sentence above)!

Long story short, I just got back from that amazing ceremony in Florida and want to post a few highlights:



During the sound check the room was being prepared for the event, so I got to play for all the folks setting up chairs and placing table cloths and place settings as a warm up. A very moving slide show was shown while I played - I could not even glance at the screens or that would have been the end of the music, it was such an emotional presentation. So, yeah, my eyes were closed...



The remarkable people who made this such a memorable night - talk about heart - wow. From start to finish, during the program and dinner we laughed and cried and laughed til we cried! Throughout the night we honored military traditions, but much more importantly, we honored the reason the military members do what they do. 



The guest speaker was a Wounded Warrior, a true hero, who would tell you he was just doing his job, and that he would do it all again. He recounted several incidents of extreme suffering and personal sacrifice, but was able to come to the conclusion each time, "I'm a lucky guy." I can't tell you how inspiring this was to me. Perspective, perseverance, courage, resilience, commitment, and a huge heart. I wish every American could meet him.


A perfect night out on the terrace - palm trees, boats on the river, balmy air - so lovely!



Dinner was absolutely delicious, and my only regret was that I didn't have room to finish all my dessert.

Another unexpected, unforgettable experience: when the Commander shook my hand at the end of the night, she put her Commander's coin in the palm of my hand. I was totally stunned! It's a really special honor to receive one even as a military member, but I never dreamed I would be given one as a military spouse! So many things about this trip felt truly once in a lifetime.

One of the sweetest moments came at the very end of the program, when a toast was made to the family members of our military. The tribute made me cry (again) because they gave our boys and I a new title: "Angel Warriors."

This is what I hope I'll remember each time I'm asked to sacrifice in support of my husband's military service - and the next time I don't update my blog for a year because we've moved again and I've lost my groove - that if Wounded Warriors can consider themselves lucky, I certainly can too as an Angel Warrior.

Thank you to my new Navy friends in Florida, for inviting me to be part of such an unforgettable night.

15 comments:

Cynthia said...

Beautiful thanks for sharing. I'm glad you were able to discover what so many of us that have been acquainted with you have always known....Angel warrior!

Anonymous said...

Arian,
Thank you for your very kind words. Your rendition of our National Anthem pull the strings of my heart. It was a honor and a privilege to meet you and your husband and have the opportunity to speak to fellow service men, women and their guest. I am thankful with each passing day and feel blessed with the opportunities that allow me to meet beautiful people like you and your husband.

Until next time, Thank you,
Jerry

Kirk Davies said...

AWESOME! Wish we could have been there. Wives are Angel Warriors...I love that. BTW - I have an arrangement to send you, but my friend who did the copy needs to fix one mistake and he's ignoring my emails. So, maybe I'll just scratch it out or something, but I hate to do that. I think you'll like it a lot.

Kirk

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

Thank you, Cynthia, that is so sweet.

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

Jerry, thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us, you are a very special man. The privilege was all ours to get to meet you and hear you speak. God bless you and your family.

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

Kirk - Yea! Can't wait to get it! We miss you guys.

Kelley said...

Congratulations! What an amazing opportunity for you. Pretty soon, I will be able to say, I remember her when......

Miss ya!

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

Kelley, you can just finish that sentence by saying I remember her when we used to go shopping together in The Netherlands (um, every week)! Miss you too.

The Lane Family said...

Angel Warrior...what an awesome term!!! You are an amazing woman and have and will use your amazing talents to touch so many people.

The picture of you and Eric is beautiful. I also appreciated the picture with you and the wounded warrior and what he said..what an amazing experience!!

Lesli said...

I am so happy and grateful that all went well for you! You worked and prayed hard for everything to come together to bless the lives of those in attendance. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. (Do flies laugh? Or cry?) Anyway, thank you for sharing the experience on your blog. Love the story, the pictures, and love you!

Mary-Ella said...

Jerry was just sharing your blog with me. I told him I couldn't read back what you wrote because it is so sweet you made me cry. I really wish we would have had more time to spend with you. What a gift you have.

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

Thanks, Wendi. : ) And yes- what Jerry shared with us has changed the way I look at a lot of things.

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

Mom - thanks so much for your encouragement and prayers! I wish you could have been there, too.

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

Mary-Ella, we really enjoyed getting to visit with you and Jerry. You are both such beautiful people. Hope our paths will cross again!

Anonymous said...

Arian,
I was just updating your address in my contacts and decided to swing by the blog. What an amazing experience and how blessed those people were by your talents.

You are such a great example of someone who has worked to magnify their talent and we are so lucky that we were some of the people blessed by your dedication to do so.

I am just so proud of you and so happy that I can call you my friend.

Jodi