Thankful to be an American!



It’s July 4th, the day that we think about all the reasons we are thankful to be an American. The day that we remember those and thank those that have fought so bravely to make America free.

As I reflect on the reason behind July 4th, I am so thankful for all of the brave men and women who have fought and fight every day for our freedom. Today I want to highlight one man that is currently overseas in the middle east, taking care of our brave soldiers.

Army Chaplain in full dress blues
Troyer, US Army Chaplain

Over the years I have had the privilege to photograph Troyer. He started his military career later in life and worked really hard to make it in before the cut off age.

He has worked very hard to advance in the military and at the same time to become a pastor, taking two years on reserves to pastor a church and then to go back in full time service as a Chaplain. Right after he went back full time, he was deployed. Which leads me to the ‘un-sung heroes’ back here at home. His wife and family.

Military, Army man dipping back his wife who is wearing patriotic colors, red shoes and is holding an American Flag
“Live today, like he deploys tomorrow”
Army photo of couple sitting on train tracks
Troyer and his wife spending time together before his 1st deployment
Army family with little girl kissing Mommy at Swan Lake
South Carolina – Swan Lake

Maternity pictures while Daddy was in the middle east. It was the first time that I added someone into a photo and made them ‘see through’ to show that they were not really there.

Army maternity photo in snow when Daddy was deployed
Troyer and his wife maternity photo while he was overseas and she was in the USA.
Army maternity photo in the snow when Daddy was deployed
Troyer and his wife maternity photo while he was overseas and she was in the USA.
Army maternity picture with baby combat boots and Daddy's dog tags held in front of Mommy's belly
Baby sized combat boots and Daddy’s dog tags over Mommy’s belly

He was deployed to the middle east for 9 months and through God-ordained circumstances was able to make it back 27 hours before his namesake was born. These next photos were taken by a Rachael Nyugen “Welcome Home Newborns” who was stationed where she was at at that time.

Photo by “Welcome Home Newborns” Baby in Daddy’s combat hat
Photo taken by “Welcome Home Newborns”. Baby in Daddy’s arms
Photo taken by “Welcome Home Newborns”. Baby in Mommy and Daddy’s arms
Army family photo in the woods
Family photo in Autumn
Army family photo in Autumn leaves
Military family photo in the Autumn leaves
Army family photo in woods
Re-do of their favorite family photo before Daddy deployed again
Army son wearing Dad's beret
His namesake wearing his beret
Army son wearing Dad's beret and saluting the flag with Dad blurry in background saluting the flag
His namesake wearing his beret and saluting, with him in full uniform in the background saluting

The deployed military bravely serves our country while their families are back home supporting and missing them. Troyer’s wife is an amazing Army wife. I’ve seen her serve the troops with care and devotion. Baking countless whoopie pies (PA Dutch tradition) for those here and overseas and volunteering in every way possible.

Black and white photo of an Army Chaplain kissing his wife on the forehead
Love and devotion

Troyer’s wife had the option to stay with her loving family as Troyer was going to be deployed. But she said she needed to go and be alongside the other families who’s family members would be deployed at the same time. To be able to support and help them through those trying times. So they moved their family halfway across the US and he was deployed weeks later. These are the ‘un-sung heroes.’

military wife with her two children hugging her
The ‘un-sung heroes’ back home

As I write this blog, she is doing what she is so very good at – being with the military families and serving together. Today they won second place for their float in the July 4th parade! This is Mr. Namesake, thankful to be an American. Saluting the flag and wearing the Navy suit that his great-grandfather had sent back for his brother when he was serving overseas.

Boy in Navy uniform saluting the American flag
Boy in Navy uniform saluting the American flag

“THANK YOU” to those that are serving the USA. Whether in the military or public service or as families and friends supporting those that are serving. It is because of you, that we remain free. The sacrifices you make daily, are not un-noticed. You are brave, you are strong, you are appreciated!

military enagement photos
Engagement military photos – to see more click here and scroll down the page

So what are you doing to celebrate this Fourth of July? We are going to celebrate at a family picnic. My family begs me to bring my ‘world famous’ potato salad. 🙂 I thought I’d share a link because it is truly my favorite potato salad and so easy to make.

Loaded potato salad
My potato salad waiting to be eaten

I’m thankful to be an American! God bless the USA!

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