This past Saturday evening Solvay, Evan and I headed on over to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess* resort for an evening of American food and fun. Saturday was the second day of their inaugural Freedom Fest. The resort had patriotic festivities planned all throughout the long weekend and guests could buy packages to stay for one or more of the nights (a portion of the package proceeds benefit Friends of Freedom, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to military families).
After enjoying an All-American buffet (complete with the best apple pie I think I have ever had!) we decided to walk off some of the food before heading to the lagoon lawn area where red, white and blue chairs had been set up for the concert. I had heard someone mention that there was an Apache helicopter parked on one of the lawns, so we went on a hunt to locate it. When we came around the corner, I could see its massive blades through the mesquite trees. We walked closer, and the imposing machine came into full view. It was an awesome thing to see up close. From its matte black finish to all of the weapons it can accommodate, it is truly ominous. I couldn’t imagine ever seeing one fulfilling the purpose it was invented for.
As we got seated for the Zowie Bowie concert, we noticed that there were four planes flying overhead in formation. They were pilots from the Deer Valley Warbirds and they flew over several times performing intricate maneuvers and releasing colored smoke trails into the sky. Also prior to the concert there was a Presentation of the Colors by the Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard. It was impressive to watch these uniformed men and women in perfect precision come onto the stage. I was feeling very patriotic when we all stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.
When we were seated, the announcer wanted to thank and acknowledge all the military members in the audience. I was amazed at the amount of people who stood up. In the rows in front of us stood young men. Men who were there with their wives and young children. Suddenly I realized that these men had probably spent large amounts of time away from their growing families. As I watched them interact with each other, I wanted to know how they did it, how they could be away from the people that they loved day in and day out. I wanted to acknowledge them somehow, but all I could manage was a smile if they looked my way. They were having such a good time, laughing, dancing and really enjoying themselves.
So I sat there, listening to the music and wondering what it would be like if they could just stay home with the people they loved.
*All summer long, Willow Stream Spa will say “thank you” to the military by offering 45-minute massages, skincare and pedicures for $45-$99, with full-use of the spa facilities for the day.