Two weeks ago, my mom, sisters, and I packed our bags & began driving 5+ hours southwest to Atlanta! We had decided to go all out with this vacation, since (a) I just graduated from college -- big deal -- and (b) who knows if the four of us will ever get to do anything like this again?? We'll still have family vacations, of this I am sure. But over the course of the next five years, I'll get married, both of my sisters will graduate college, & we'll all have jobs/careers/lives of our own. Even if all four of the "Haynes girls" are able to get away for another trip together, we won't all have the same last name. (How crazy is that?) So, this was our grand hurrah as the "Haynes girls" --- next time, we'll be the "Haynes/Jones/Tebow/Tatum" girls ;)
A few highlights from the trip:
Centennial Park/anything having to do with the 1996 Olympics
I was six years old during the 1996 Olympics, but I remember it SO well. It's the first time I ever remember my parents allowing me to stay up past my bedtime, and my six year old self sat in front of the television watching the 1996 USA Women's Gymnastics Team, also known as the Magnificent Seven, win the first ever gold medal for the United States in the Women's Team Competition.
Because of that very moment, I was inspired to be a competitive gymnast, traveling across the state and becoming one of the top 15 Level 6 gymnasts in North Carolina by 2002... and it all started with those 1996 Olympics in Atlanta! It sounds cheesy to say that it was "life-changing," but it seriously did impact my life so dramatically. I can still name all seven of the girls on that Olympic team, so it was so neat to see the place where they competed 16 years ago!
Memorial Day Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field (vs. the St. Louis Cardinals)
The Braves had a HUGE pre-game ceremony in honor of Memorial Day: I'm talking members of the military stretching out a huge American flag in the outfield, a representative from each branch of the military with a star on the field, a retired general & former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army throwing out the first pitch, a WWII vet honored on the pitcher's mound, a 21-gun salute, the playing of Taps, and an F-16 flyover.
Marine Corps, oorah! :)
the players of the Braves & Cardinals lining the bases with members of the military for the National Anthem
playing of Taps & an F-16 flyover. So legit.
Below is a pretty sweet video from the Atlanta Braves' website that gives an even better idea of what it was like.
I was unaware it was possible to cry so much at a baseball game... and not because the Braves lost (although they did... womp). Sure, I have a deeper connection to the military than most, but I promise you that everyone was crying when an Airman surprised his wife and four kids right there on the field after a six month deployment to Afghanistan.