Monday, July 20, 2009

Ritzy Night Out

(yes, I cut and pasted us together)

You might say this has been an epic weekend for Fred. He had the privilege of escorting one of the guests invited to participate in the 48th annual National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF), David Hartman (original host of Good Morning America) . Click on the first link to read all about the NAHF, but basically the event chooses several people each year to be enshrined, also inviting many other past enshrinees (like Niel Armstrong and many other astronauts from all the Apollo missions and more), along with other important guests.

There were 3 days packed with events for the guests and those involved (like Fred). I won't post about all of those things now, but highlights included Fred getting a free flight at a BBQ, Gregory eating breakfast with an astronaut at the Air Force Museum, Fred getting the privilege of listening to many of the astronauts recount their experiences and answer questions, and many other little things along the way.

Since it's difficult for me to leave Kai for too long (avid little nurser), I only went on the last day to the formal, Saturday evening. We had wonderful friends who watched the kids and Kai managed with his first-ever bottle of expressed milk, much to my relief!

To say it was fantastically amazing would be an understatement. It was a black-tie event, with the military people in their mess dress (the fancy uniform). Since Fred was escorting a guest, there was no charge for us. Good thing, because it was $150 a plate!

(the arrow is meant to point out just how big the stage was in comparison to the speaker)

They had this amazing set-up on stage, made to look like the view the pilots/astronauts would have in the cock pit. There was also audio mimicking what it would sound like. The simulation played on the "windshield" for the entire evening, first for lift-off, arriving at the moon, and then orbiting the moon for the remainder of the evening, with headlines and photographs occasionally appearing as the program called for. The video captures it pretty well.


(Arriving at the moon)

The food and service was excellent and we had lots of laughs with Fred's Captain, Scott Smith, who had also escorted one of the guests. One of the other officers at our table happened to be one of the nurses I had when I delivered Kai. Small world.

(at our table with Captain Smith)

During dinner, people could freely walk around and meet the guests.. if you could elbow your way to them! Niel Armstrong had the Dayton Chief of Police near him at all times! Fred tried to find his escortee in the sea of other esteemed guests, but we had to find our seats before he was able to spot Dave.

As we meandered around the tables, I had this surreal feeling of awe, taking in the scene. I felt a little guilty for not being able to recognize anyone, so I tried to put on my best appreciative smile whenever I met someone's gaze. One elderly gentleman grabbed Fred and gave him a firm handshake, also shaking my hand. He was excited to see Fred's rank (we call them butter bars, because it's a single gold bar- lowest officer rank) and he enthusiastically wished us luck. I wish I could've known who he was.

Unfortunately, we had to leave before it was over, since our kids were at our friends' house and the program ended after 10pm. They do this every year, so Fred definitely has plans on participating again next year! We felt so privileged to be a part of such an awesome experience!


Lisa said...

your so beautiful Debbie! That picture doesn't look copied and pasted.

Shawna said...

You look awesome- both of you. I've never seen the dress uniforms- very smashing :) Glad you got a night out!

Armstrong Family said...

You are lookin' HOT girl!! And so soon after Kai. Good work!!!!

Sarah said...

You look amazing Debbie! What an awesome experience. I'm so glad you both got to participate in that. Last year Rob did something with the Tucson Didalions...I know I spelled that wrong...but there were all osrts of very elderly war heroes and ACE pilots. It was surreal to be in a room with so many amazing and yet humble people. Take advantage of all these experiences as you will have many I'm sure.