The thought of Guantanamo Bay strikes different emotions in everyone. As the site of my first military tour, I could not have enjoyed myself more. Meeting all of the men and women working and serving our country, sharing their stories and interacting with their families, created memories I will forever hold in my heart. When you are in Guantanamo Bay you really feel the friends and family atmosphere. Many have the opportunity to move their family to the base, which I believe, adds so much to the experience of serving in such a beautiful place. This also allows the children to grow up in a zero crime environment. The energy was so positive and upbeat from the minute we stepped off the plane, the girls and I even had the opportunity to take part in a birthday celebration during our first night on base! As the days continued we were able to hold a cheerleading camp where the kids ranged in age from 3-17. Everyone performed the material we taught so well! We thoroughly enjoyed interacting with all of them. All of the children have different backgrounds and have come to GITMO at different times but they all seem to get along as though they’ve grown up together their whole lives; that was truly great to see.
While we were wrapping up our trip with a Super Bowl party, talking to the gentlemen one on one struck a very strong cord with me. My younger brother is currently serving in the United States Navy and was based in Guantanamo Bay last year. Seeing where my brother ate, where he stayed, where he shopped, played and even where he worked out allows me to share a commonality with him that no one else in my family will be able to experience. I could not say thank you enough to the people who made our trip possible, but an even bigger thank you goes out to those serving in Guantanamo Bay not only for proudly serving our country, but showing us such amazing hospitality while we were there.
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