Sunday, June 9, 2013


Let me set the stage...  It had been raining up until 6am and 48 hour previous.  The phone had been ringing with seminar mates asking if graduation had changed venues to indoors.  Mean while, I am praying that the sky clears and ushers in a beautiful day.  See, if it rains, we would not be able to see Mark get his diploma.  We, the family members, would be ushered to different locations to watch graduation on closed circuit TV.  I wanted to be there so badly.  I wanted it outside with no rain therefore I prayed.  Along with Mark's parents, our friends, Chris & Vicky Grotton came to join in the celebration of of the day!  It was so fun to see them and have them be able to see our year long hang out in Carlisle.  As we left to walk over to graduation, there was that Ahhh moment where the clouds seemed to part and the sun shone through.  Okay, a bit dramatic, but honestly, that what it seemed like.  So the morning was a perfect, overcast, kinda humid, but not totally hot kind of perfect morning for a graduation.  We found perfect seats, right across the aisle from our grad.  Perfect for grabbing pictures of the seminar like this...

....and this...

...and if you hand your camera to your super cool friend, Vicky, who traveled all the way from Maine to be can have an awesome one of you, your adorable daughter and your this...

The chief of the Army, General Odienero spoke.  If you would like to listen to his speech, which I should do because I think I spent more time taking pictures and texting my grad, than listening, click HERE.

Here's another video, more of a montage of the highlights of graduation.

When Seminar 10 was up to receive diplomas, I went to the photo op area to grab a pic of Mark getting his diploma.  I was extremely frustrated that people were not following instructions given of getting out of the way if it is not your seminar getting diplomas, so the pics I got were awful!  But as I was fuming walking back to my seat, I heard my name being called...and surprise! Mark's cousin and his wife, Daren & Kristie Seekins, were there!!   Daren texted a pic of Kristie & I together to Mark and when I walked back to my seat, past Mark, the look on his face was priceless!!  What a great surprise!

Here are a few more pics of the day...

Hope had a late night the night before.  Dodge ball and Rock-n-Bowl kept her up to 11pm.  Meme's shoulder was so nice to take a quick nap on. 

Walking off the stage

After Graduation and showing Chris, Vicky, Daren & Kristie around, we sat down for lunch together and I think my stomach still hurts from laughing so much!

This was waaaay too funny of a pic to not post.  I didn't take it and was so surprised to find this among the pics. 

We scooted out of lunch with everyone to attend a promotion ceremony of COL Stephanie Williams.  Steph and Mark were in Seminar 10 together and Mark did the invocation for her promotion.

When Mark and I went to bed that night, he was all smiles, remarking that the day had been one of his best ever.  I had to agree.  To be with the people that you love from both home and Carlisle, to mark the end of a huge accomplishment, to share a fun meal and to giggle all day long with those people, makes for one unforgettable day.  It was such a fitting end to an amazing year at the US Army War College. 


  1. Mark, Sarah, Julia and Hope-
    We absolutely loved reading your Mom's most recent posts about Daddy's graduation, saying goodbye to your friends at the USAWC and your move! We loved seeing your pictures so much and loved reading about the dandelions! We are so happy that things are going so well for you all and we will continue to pray for you all during the coming year! Take good care and God Bless you always!
    Love The Johnstons

  2. Chris & I cherish our visit to witness this proud Brooks Family accomplishment! Thanks for including us and letting me click away with your camera. Glad to see you found some photo surprises.
    Love you,
    The Grottons

    1. Having you guys there was so special to us!! Thanks for making the trip down!