I think the real story for me, was watching and seeing the people. Like those guys who did the music, it was clear that the guy at the laptop was into music and running the show. In so many cases, the uniform strips away the individual to people outside the circle. Clearly this is a young man who loves his music.
There was a young blonde woman, who I first met at 6:30am, she was all business, in her camo uni and getting things done. Around 9am, she disappeared and came back, all frilly and girly, a total change once she was in civvies. Most of these folks are National Guard who are attached to the Army. So,they have lives outside of the Army, and those little glimpses really humanize the people, and the event.
The guy in the cowboy hat, I saw walking by with his third plate of food, he immediately said 'it's for my little girl, she eats twice as much as I do' as she is rolling her eyes at daddy.
I think my enduring take-away will be the relationship between CSM Swift and his sergeants. He constantly made little funny digs about education at his Sergeants, and when I looked at him, he explained that they were all career Army and he wanted them to complete their educations, which most of them had stopped. He felt that finishing college, no matter how hard, would give them a chance to move up. He seemed to genuinely care about his reports. Here was a guy with multiple campaign ribbons, Airborne Ranger, Several insignias on his dress uni and he seemed to genuinely care about his people moving on and up.
me: I don't drink anymore
Yelonutz: me either, but, then again, I don't drink any less