This morning was the airmen's run. It was really cold and my teeth were chattering, but we were lined up to watch. It was irritating because there was a woman who kept getting in front of us, and she was tall! Military personnel would make her move back, and as soon as possible she'd be right back over the line again. :( When the guys ran past, I couldn't pick Jim out--everyone looked the same to me! Gram found him and so did Steve, but both Bri and I missed him even though he apparently was right in front of us. Then they turned around and ran back past AGAIN, and Bri and I still missed him! Good grief! At least his father saw him. I didn't get any photos though. Greg and Ben missed the run completely because of oversleeping!
After the run we collected Greg and Ben, then returned to the parade area to stake a seat in the bleachers. We waited in the cold, on the bleachers, for over 2 hours for the coin ceremony to begin, but it was necessary because a lot of other people did that too in order to be seated where they could see their airman. When Jim's squadron came, they stood directly in front of us. The coin ceremony is where each airman receives a special commemorative coin that signifies he is no longer a trainee, but an official Air Force airman. This was the first time I saw him, but while I was in the gift shop during the waiting period, the rest of the family saw him walk right by our bleachers. He told us later he was walking to the auditorium to practice for the honors ceremony.
After the coin ceremony we were able to down to where Jim was standing, and that was the first time we were able to touch him and speak to him! It was wonderful! From there we went to the honors ceremony, then off to our day together--but we had to stay on base. We went to lunch together at mini mall food court. It was crowded, and we had to split up, but I was able to watch Jim throughout lunch from my vantage point! Next we went to the PX and the Commissary, first time most of us had ever been in those military installations. From there we went to pick up Jim's military photos, but they were closed, so that will be a tomorrow task. We sat and talked with Jim for quite awhile at a picnic table--he wasn't allowed to come to our rooms, but he said he thinks he will be able to do that tomorrow. He isn't allowed to drive, so he asked us to take him to a store where he checked out suitcases, and then it was back to the barracks for him. Bri walked him to his dorm, and then called us to come pick her up where Jim dropped her off. I'm glad she had that opportunity with him.
In the evening we were all pretty exhausted from the emotions of the day, but we enjoyed some pizza (not the best!) together in our room and then played several rounds of Uno before calling it a day. Looking forward to graduation tomorrow!