It's been almost 7 years since the war in Iraq started. It seems like a lifetime ago. Those months are still a blur in my memory - probably due to a whole lot of stress and very little sleep. I think I just "functioned". Kelli was the baby - 10 years old when Bobby left. For such a little girl, she knew exactly what was going on. She had a very "adult" view point on everything and wasn't afraid to voice her opinion. For those of you who know her today, I'm sure that doesn't surprise you. I came across this photo from the morning his unit left. We were standing in a family group, talking. She was standing with her poster she'd made. The next thing I knew, I saw a reporter across the room motion to Kelli. With no prodding on my part, Kelli walked across the room and proceeded to be interviewed for the evening news.
A few minutes later, they asked her Marine to join her. I remember Bobby putting his arm around Kelli's shoulders and stating that "this is all the reason I need to come home safely".
Thankfully, he did.