As a photographer, I'm sometimes invited to be part of some VERY special moments. I was recently asked to photograph the homecoming of a local Marine and was honored to capture the sweet moments of that event.
The Marine (son, husband father) was to arrive via a "fly-in" aboard a V-22 Osprey, which is a military, tilt-rotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. The Marines would fly overhead prior to landing. Once on the ground, they would assemble, come towards the waiting crowd in formation and finally be dismissed to meet up with their family and friends.
Our Marine had been away for the last 8 months. The last time he was home, his youngest son wasn't walking yet. As we waited in the hanger and I prepped my gear for the shoot, I noticed the air of excitement and nervous tension throughout the crowd. My family consisted of the Marine's wife, 2 sons, and his mom (visiting from out of state). Flags were waving and homemade banners were flapping in the breeze in anticipation of the arrival of the squadron.
Finally the time came as we heard the loud buzz of engines overhead. A roar of a cheer came from the crowd knowing that it would be only a short time now before they could greet their loved ones.
As the aircraft landed, I was able to capture some expressive moments while they waited. Eventually the Marines disembarked, formed ranks and came toward the waiting crowd. A few moments more and they were dismissed!
The next few minutes were filled with noise and chaos. All around us anxious faces were meeting up with loved ones they had not seen for months. Where was our Marine? Finally he was there and the meeting was fast and furious! There were hugs, tears and smiles as they reunited.
I captured a few more images as we made our way back to their vehicle. What an amazing experience. I was truly blessed to have been part of it and honored to be able to capture such precious memories.
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