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Friday, August 31, 2012

Parents' Weekend Day One

7:15 am we meet Caleb at the gate.  Along with 8000 other parents.  The place is swarming with civilians, and we anticipate heavy security checks so set out an hour early.  Only they seem resigned to the onslaught and wave us all on through, so we're EARLY, early enough to breath in the 50-degree morning coolness, squint into the sunrise, watch the peaks of the Rockies suffuse pink, and get emotional when we hug in the flesh the boy we've been carrying in our hearts all these weeks.
Caleb has no early classes today, so he can walk us around to his dorm room and some special parents' day celebrations before the parade.

Note the clever periodic-table introducing his "element", the five-person unit that is the smallest working group within the Thunderbird Squadron (27).  The poster was Caleb's creation.

Scott took pictures of the airshow and parade.  Not your average college visit, that's for sure. At least a dozen cadets parachuted onto the field, followed by acrobatic gliders rolling and turning and looping in the sky above us.  Four F16 fighter jets roared over in formation just as the parade started, the 4000+ cadets marching in squadron by squadron with flags and a band.  There were cannons fired, the National Anthem, honors mentioned.  Even one of the trained real-bird falcon mascots flew in a demonstration.

From there we hike up to the dining hall, a massive crisp sunny clean square room that holds all 4000 cadets and feeds them within 25 minutes.  Today parents were invited to eat lunch, which is surprisingly good.  Then we are off to class, sitting through a lecture in military history on the Prussians and Napolean, then we are reviewing Arabic vocabulary in the language lab (happily remembered some things more than 25 years later . . ).  The best class is Chemistry for sheer enthusiasm and clarity of instruction, with multiple demonstrations and illustrations, an outline, just a superb teacher and a small group of kids rather than the massive intro courses at some schools.  Caleb is truly blessed (and so are we) to be accessing this education.

After checking out with his superior officers, we are able to leave the base, greet his sponsor family,  and take Caleb back to the Grahams for a wonderful home made dinner.

Caleb also has great room mates, like Luke, really faith-restoring to see the quality of the young men in this generation.

Caleb is doing well.  He works hard, and trains hard, and while there is a lot about the Academy that is stressful and unpleasant, he pushes on through.  We are thankful for his quiet strength and dependable effort, and delight to see his humor still shining through.  Love this kid.

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