Hello Redskins fans!
This is Sydney reporting from Kuwait. This week I had the honor of traveling with seven of my veterans to perform for our troops overseas. With this being my very first year on the team, every experience is brand new.
I had begun preparing myself for traveling to Kuwait about a month prior, but nothing I did prepared me for the rush of emotions and pride I felt while in contact with the brave men and women who put their lives on the line each day for our freedom.
When we arrived at the airport on Wednesday, an airport employee in the security line spoke the words I had feared I would hear: "Who do you think you are going over there? What are you going to do so special that would help them?" I tried not to let this taint my spirits as we traveled to our gate, but I thought to myself that one, she was right, and two, I must find the answer.
From the moment we touched down in Kuwait we were on the go. Our first show was only three hours after our arrival. As we danced our routines we had practiced so hard on, I couldn’t help but notice the genuine smiles that spread across the audience.
Each show was significantly better as the soldiers celebrated some of their last days before heading home. Many of our shows were packed with troops who had literally just arrived off the convoys from Iraq and were only a pit stop away from being reconnected with their families. I had no idea I would witness such a touching moment of history.
Although the shows were a blast to perform, my favorite part of the trip was the conversations. Some of the men were eager to speak with us as others had their guard up a bit more, but after a few jokes in the DFAC, I developed lasting friendships with dozens of them.
I was constantly blown away when people would come up to us and thank us for what we were doing! It seemed so silly to me. These men and women had missed birthdays, holidays, the birth of their children and the constant contact with their families. We were only there one week. I felt so selfish.
During our last dance of our final show, we proudly waved red, white and blue ribbons in rhythm to the song God Bless the USA. I looked out to the sea of uniforms as one man in the front row removed his hat, turned to the man to his left and said, "Wow," as a tear streamed down his eye.
It hit me in this moment that this is why I was there. It wasn’t about the dances, the tiny costumes, or the fact that we are cheerleaders at all. It was the reminder that we care about them; a small piece of America was brought to them before they even landed on their own soil. I sang even louder as my own eyes began to water. "There ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA."
Thank you and Happy Holidays to our troops! We love each and every one of you!