It is day 12 of our 16 day Super Bowl tour and let me tell you it has been an unbelievably heart-warming journey. This is my first tour overseas and I had no idea what I would be experiencing. So far we have seen everything from the Dead Sea in Jordan to the Inside of one of the most powerful ships in our Navy. The tour started off with a "bang", or should I say "splat" from the start. On the very first day of our tour we were visiting a base in Bosnia and a massive flock of birds flew over us. Well, let’s just say I was the lucky one of the group to get a nice surprise on my arm. Sergeant Vance told me that this is good luck (hard to believe) but boy did this foreshadow what was to come.
Being able to get up close and personal with our military men and women allowed me to see first hand what life is like for them overseas. It’s not easy being away from family for so long and I am incredibly grateful that we were able to bring a little piece of home to the troops out here. I have been extremely lucky to meet and personally thank the military men and women for all their service. I understood that our military was valuable but I never realized all the things that encompass their lifestyle. It makes me appreciate my freedom and their sacrifices even more.
The entire trip has been exciting and memorable but here are a few highlights from my trip so far I'd like to share.
My first memorable moment was when we were in The middle east watching the Super Bowl. Since we were eight hours ahead, we watched the game with a huge group of military men and women from 2 a.m. til 7 a.m. As tiring as it may sound it was such a fun experience! These people are from all over the country and are fans of all different NFL teams and it was cool to see their reactions to the game.
A few days later, we got to perform on a flight deck on the USS Mount Whitney in Gaeta, Italy. If the thrill of performing on the flight deck wasn't enough, literally five minutes before we performed there was a water spout not too far from the ship! So we performed with tornado-like winds and a face full of hair (which made for a great show in my opinion, the hair was amazing!).
The next day we got to watch the high school cheerleaders on the Navy Base. This was a humbling experience because I was able to see how genuinely excited they were to see us. It is always flattering to know other people look up to us as professional cheerleaders. We had the opportunity to watch them perform and show us their spirit. (They brought it!) After watching them perform they were eager to get our feedback and show them a few things we do on the sidelines of a game. It was amazing and reminded me of my days as a young WRC in training. The cheerleaders were so excited and got such a kick from seeing us, but I must say that we were the ones who were touched so much by their love and support.
As we were traveling to our most remote and isolated location on this trip, we had the unusual yet exciting experience of having the President of the country we are visiting, Kosovo, sitting a mere two rows in front of us! She acknowledged our trip and gave us a stately smile. What an amazing welcome to her country!
Before I left to come on the tour I hoped I would be able to take something from it to impact my life. This tour has opened my eyes to the many things I take for granted everyday. All the men and women I met have touched and influenced me in some positive way. I definitely have a greater appreciation for the heros in our military. Everything they do, and all the sacrifices they make impact us all. A quote sums this up best, “Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we’ve touched.”. This goes out to every person in the service. I hope you all know, you’ve not only impacted my life, but the entire world. Your service does not go unnoticed! Thank you for everything.