Rachel and James's Military Homecoming Proposal

How We Met: James and I met in theater class in high school. He was a 17 year old senior and I was a 15 year old freshman (gasp!) but we became close friends. After several months, he asked me to prom but I had to get approval from my parents because the house rules were I had to be 16 to date and couldn’t date someone more than a year older, so it was against all the rules! My parents caved and we had a wonderful prom where we shared our first kiss (and my first kiss ever)  and began officially dating. We were inseparable for two years until James left for Marine Corps boot camp. That began our long distance relationship and was a turning point where we knew we wanted to be together forever.

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How He Asked: James left for Afghanistan in April of 2011. It was my senior year of high school. His deployment got moved up and conflicted with a 3 week Italian exchange I was on. His pre-deployment leave was cancelled and I was on the other side of the world. His deployment date then got pushed back by 3 days and I flew practically straight through from Italy to Hawaii (where he was stationed). We saw each other for about 36 hours before I had to fly back home, then he deployed the next day. It was an 8 month deployment. Towards the end, he bought an engagement ring and had his mom ship it to him in Afghanistan, but it never arrived. I flew to Hawaii in November for his homecoming. I watched his plane land and searched for him while hundreds of Marine in uniform came off the plane. I fianally saw him and we made our way through the crowd to hold each other after 8 months apart. He let me go, then got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. He put his own ring that he always wore on my finger since the real engagement ring never made it to him. I nodded but couldn’t say “yes” because I had burst into tears and he lifted me into a hug. The feeling of finally having him home safely and knowing I was going to have him forever was unlike anything else in the world.

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