To All Who Serve in our Military, Thank You.

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kiyomi photography - virginia beach photographer

Living in Pensacola, Florida, we are surrounded by people in the military.  With active Navy, Marines, and Air Force bases around us, it is very common for us to see people in uniform daily, to pray with friends through deployments, celebrate homecomings, and read about the good times and the struggles.  I remember a couple of years after I moved here, I was on a plane flight returning to Pensacola from a Minnesota visit, and when I walked onto the plane, I was surrounded by people in uniform.  And it instantly made me think "I'm heading home", as it is something I have grown accustomed to as well as love seeing around me.  My dad was in the Air Force and my brother-in-law was in the Marines, and so it has been a part of my own family's life as well.  I have friends whose husbands, brothers, sisters, and children have been deployed, and all that I can think to say on this day are these two simple words.

Thank you.

Thank you for all you have done for our country.  For your sacrifices.  For your bravery.  For so many things that we aren't even aware of as civilians, for having the courage to stand up for this country of ours and fight for our freedoms.  And to those of you who have someone in the military in your life, for the wives and girlfriends who miss special holidays together, the mamas who are having babies and raising children alone at times when their daddies are deployed, and for everyone else who has someone special who has contributed time in their lives to the military, thank you.  The military wives that I have had the pleasure of getting to know, you are some of the strongest women I have met.  And so on this day, thank you too, for everything you have sacrificed as well.

The first photo in this post is of my friend Christina and her husband, captured by Kiyomi Photography when her husband returned from a deployment.  I remember seeing this photo the day that she posted it, I immediately felt the emotion of that moment, and I completely feel that this is the way that homecomings are so many times.  These are the emotions that grasp so many people in our country now, as they wait for the day that their loved ones will come home.

I have had the privilege of planning a few weddings with military couples, and so wanted to take this day to highlight these incredible men and women, and just say thank you, putting faces to a few of the brave and wonderful people who are serving in our military to help keep our country great.

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Thank you, Meredith and Eric, for both being as amazing as you are.  To learn when we were planning your wedding that one of you were actually in the Pentagon on 9/11 was heart-wrenching and I was so happy to be a part of your wedding day.  You both are such wonderful individuals and your commitment to each other and the military is incredible to me.

mer and eric - sandestin beach wedding

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To Meg and Alex - how in the world you managed to plan your wedding completely while based in Japan, only to arrive here six weeks before your wedding still amazes me to this day.  And the helicopter flyover right after your ceremony?  That was a surprise I'm sure not any of us will forget.

meg and alex - landshark landing wedding

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To Ayanna and Milton - whose wedding we planned in 10 days due to an unexpected moved up much-sooner-than-later deployment?  Knowing that you two were so committed to each other and having an intimate wedding celebration to share your love with your families, you will always have a piece of my heart.

ayanna and milton - pensacola wedding

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To Leigh and Anthony, your charisma and calm on your wedding day was beautiful.  Especially knowing that you were moving across country to a new base the week after your wedding, and seeing the calm you exuded throughout showed me your strength as a couple.

leigh and anthony - 5 eleven pensacola wedding

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To Amanda and Nick - to Nick, who I didn't get to meet until rehearsal due to being stationed elsewhere, and to Amanda for having the strength to plan your wedding with me while he was away, your day was amazing and so many people loved every bit of it.

amanda and nick - old christ church and crowne plaza wedding

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And to Kayley and Brian, and all of the other gentlemen who came to the wedding representing the Marines, the Navy, and the Air Force, I still remember your wedding day as one of the happiest crowds at a reception that my fellow wedding vendors and I have ever seen (and the most adventurous sword cake cutting I have ever witnessed! ;) ).

kayley and brian - museum of commerce and old christ church pensacola wedding

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Thank you to all of you.  Enjoy this day today and know how grateful so many of us are for all of you.  If you are reading this post, whether it is today, on Veteran's Day, or even if it is any other day that you see someone who is in the military, please take the time to thank them.  If you have a friend who has a family member in the military, even sending them a quick text asking them to thank them for their service may just make their day.  For everyone that has served our country, know how much you are all appreciated.  Happy Veteran's Day.