Good morning everyone! I am bummed to write this post so far removed from my graduation on May 9th but I encountered some technical difficulties when building my draft and deleted the entire thing a week after graduation. I am horribly mortified and sincerely disappointed to lose the fresh elation of graduation in my writing. Walking for graduation was a beautiful experience and I am sorry I cannot now do full justice to this celebration.
I did not walk for my undergraduate ceremony at University of Wyoming since Laramie, Wyoming (where the University is located) is just over 5 and a half hours from where we previously lived in Cody, Wyoming. Thankfully, I didn’t have such a large distance in the way for my graduate ceremony. Tempe is only about 40-45 minutes from where we live and I already make this commute for my daily work. I took the whole day off work to celebrate, which was really nice as well. This semester has been rather hectic and I am thankful I could escape from work to celebrate with my family.
I was also joined by my writing partner, Pieter Turley, and our professor, Dr. Beth Blue Swadener, for the actual ceremony. Pieter and I were partners in Dr. Swadener’s writing seminar class this semester and she also served on our respective applied project defenses. Pieter and I took different approaches in discussing war for our projects: he spoke on the different ways France is culpable but has not fully taken responsibility for its role in the Rwandan Genocide and I spoke about the human death toll of Operation Iraqi Freedom (from August 2004 to February 2005 to coincide with my first deployment) and the visibility of persons who do not fill infantry roles but are war participants nonetheless. For new blog followers, my applied project is available my entry titled The Final Reveal: An Alternative View of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
I am very grateful Dr. Swadener offered prior to graduation to take photographs of Pieter and I during graduation. My parents and siblings were not in attendance as they live out-of-state and my husband, daughter, and in-laws were up pretty high in the bleachers so I couldn’t even find them during the ceremony. I am even more grateful for her photographs as the professional graduation photograph proofs came in the mail recently and I look angry in two of the three images; Beth did an exceptional job capturing the joy of this occasion. And if you want to learn more about commencement traditions, I implore you to check out ASUNow’s May 6th article, The History and the Meaning Behind the Regalia of ASU’s Commencement.
My husband also graduated with his Bachelor’s degree this semester and will start law school in the fall. Pardon me for not saying much of his achievements. He is a very reserved person whereas I am an introvert with social tendencies in the right environments. I do my best to respect his privacy and therefore do not speak publicly about his military service, his social connections, or his academic achievements except in those incidents where the overlap with my identity is important for providing the full context of a situation. He has many adventures ahead of him and my daughter and I have a lot to learn about how to support his needs as a future law student.
Again, thank you for your patience for this blog entry. My forays with technology teach me daily to find peace with the process.
I would also like to remind you to please remember Memorial Day is about honoring our fallen. The commodification of this day (as with many of our holidays) provides an open door for purchases that are needed (or not) with reduced financial strain but the meaning behind our holidays–and this holiday in particular–should not be forgotten. I will not pester you to not purchase anything this weekend. In fact, I will be purchasing paint tomorrow morning for my daughter’s new bedroom. While I already had plans to paint her room, the savings on this purchase means I can likely afford to paint two rooms at this time versus just one. However, I would like to ask anyone, like me, who will make a purchase or two this weekend also provide a donation (time, money, or in-kind) to an organization that provides direct support to the families of fallen service members, such as housing services, educational scholarships, or counseling services. Your contributions, wherever they may go, make this world a better place for the families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice.