Gunston Hall Homecoming

I truly love witnessing a homecoming. It’s this crazy day of drawn out emotions and excitement with a dollop of patriotism on top. There are all these clever signs to read, spouses dressed their best, little kids in red white and blue, and the excitement is just thick. ¬†Leading up to the ship’s scheduled arrival, eyes are straining to see the ship’s mast approaching in the distance and once it has been spotted, everyone cheers and the reality that they are coming home really sets it. Yet it’s still at least another hour before the waiting is over and you get to see your sailor walking toward you. And then, oh my word, you have never seen hugs like this before. ‘Hug’ actually is an understatement, it’s the tightest embrace you’ll ever see. All around you people are reuniting! Let’s just say, trying to manage a camera while fighting back tears is no easy job. It’s really an honor to photograph a homecoming and I enjoy every minute of it. Especially because I see the sacrifices these families make and to see them reunited is such a special thing. Before I met my husband and became part of a military community, I had never given much thought to a military homecoming. Aside from seeing the stories on the news, it wasn’t something that was part of my life. Now, its a very real part of my life. For those of my followers that aren’t part of a military community (I know a lot of you are from Minnesota and last time I checked we don’t have the Navy up there!), you may never have witnessed a ship’s homecoming and may never will. I’m excited to share these photos with you so you can see what it’s like and feel part of the emotion that happens on these very special days.

The homecoming you are seeing is the USS Gunston Hall, Rhiannon welcomed home her husband Heath after an 8 month deployment. It was an absolute pleasure to photograph for them. Rhiannon is just a blast, I had the most fun being her shadow all afternoon. While I only spent minutes with Heath, I heard the many wonderful words Rhiannon had to say about him and can say with confidence that he’s just as terrific. More than that, I can say that their love is strong. This is their 4th deployment and only a strong love can conquer distance. Welcome home Heath, and thank you for your service and thank you both for your sacrifice!

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The tugs do a little show before retrieving the ship¬†Weddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato MinnesotaThis is probably my favorite moment of the day… Rhiannon just spotted HeathWeddings, Engagement, Couples, Love & Lifestyle Photography Norfolk Virginia, Mankato Minnesota

(he’s in the middle)

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1 Comment

  1. by McKinzie on November 3, 2014  1:03 am Reply

    These are amazing, and I'll admit to tearing up. Great job, Joelle. Welcome home, GUNSTON HALL.

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