Thinking back to the beginning of my marriage and my husband’s Marine Corps career, retirement seemed so far away. Would he go the full 20+? We decided to take it one tour at a time and see where the Marine Corps and God sent us. Well, here we are 20 years later watching dear friends and fellow Marines turn the page into retirement. My mind has only begun to contemplate what that next phase in life will bring. We have had glimpses of the civilian life and while it can seem freeing there are a lot of things about his Marine Corps life I will miss. But this isn’t our retirement story, not yet. Today I’m sharing about the O’neal family’s Marine Corps Retirement Celebration.
As I drove onto the Marine Corps base at Quantico I had that same feeling I get on all bases. This sense of belonging, safety and pride. Even now the thought of it makes me smile.
When I arrived on location the venue was decorated in true Marine Wife style. One thing I love and will definitely miss about this life are the parties. It seems like military families have many more events and parties than the average person. But I think that is because we have more reasons to celebrate than the average family. After all you must have the “he’s deploying party”, “he’s home from deployment party”, “we just moved here party” & “it’s time to leave party”. Let’s not forget promotions, change of commands, and the “just because” parties. Then there is the retirement party. The one where it’s time to say goodbye.
As I listened to Shaun speak about his time in the Marine Corps, the people he met & the places he’d been, it felt as if he could be telling almost any Marine’s story. But he was only a few sentences in when he lost his words. Emotions overflowing, he stood there silent for a few moments. Then as if right on cue his wife, Carrie, left the crowd and took her place beside him. After all that is where she had been his whole career. It was one of the most beautiful things to watch as they pulled strength from each other. Smiling, laughing and tearing up a little, they thanked all the family and friends who made their Marine Corps life a successful one. It was a wonderful thing to observe.
Shaun & Carrie, I wish you both nothing but the best in this next chapter of life. I pray the Marine Corps life will always remain a blessing to your family. May the struggles and successes you’ve experienced make your marriage and life a little sweeter. Congratulations and Good Luck! Semper Fi!
By the way those amazing cookies, front and center, in the first picture were made by Barbara owner of The Hasty Baker! She will definitely be on my call list for my next big event!