They were dropping names like Carrie Underwood and saying they got to be part of a private concert with her.
Before the night was over…
They were talking about Carnival Cruise Lines, well-known for a fun family atmosphere, and proclaiming they got one free night on Carnival’s biggest and best ship, the Carnival Vista, with a skyline view of New York City.
Before the night was over…
They could say they met Miss USA Deshauna Barber, the very first active duty service member to wear the crown.
They were able to be part of a rare event, a naming ceremony to officially christen Carnival’s biggest and best new ship, the Carnival Vista, complete with helicopter delivery of the champagne, Kathie Lee Gifford, confetti cannons, and more.
Is it possible that all that could happen in less than 24 hours? Yes it is. And all of those experiences, and many more, were a reality for some of our military families, who were guests of Carnival’s “Honor.Family.Fun” event in New York City recently.
The experience featured it all before the night was over.
But beyond the bright lights, the gorgeous expansive ship and the entertainment…one message came through loud and clear.
Our families heard it over and over again.
They heard it in Carrie’s live performance of her song Keep Us Safe:
“And through the struggles and the trouble I know we don’t walk alone.
Even when we get lost through the valleys we crossed.”
And in Carrie’s words:
“It’s been really amazing to get to be a part of such an incredible organization and the way you’ve…committed to helping military families and giving them special time together. I’m a mother and I know how precious those moments are.”
They heard and recognized themselves in the words of our President and CEO, John I Pray, Jr., Brig Gen, USAF (Ret.):
I served in the Air Force for 27 1/2 years. When I go back and look at pictures of my family, I am not in any of them…because I wasn’t there. This partnership is important (because) those military families will be able to create the memories that will last a lifetime. The opportunity to go on vacation with your families and capture those photos, is going to be truly spectacular.
They heard it from Carnival CEO Christine Duffy:
Carnival carries more active and retired U.S. military personnel than any other cruise line. So it means a great deal to me to be able to be a part of this amazing event, honoring and celebrating the sacrifices of those who serve in our Armed Forces and protect our freedoms each and every day. I couldn’t think of a more deserving group to honor as we celebrate the launch of our spectacular new ship, Carnival Vista.
They heard from Miss USA Deshauna Barber who understand the military life very well. As she spoke at the Naming Ceremony, she recalled, with barely veiled emotion, the birthdays and holidays that her father always missed because he deployed a lot as part of special forces:
“I do a lot of speeches… but this one touches my heart. I am humbled and proud and honored and inspired all at the same time. …What we do as military is very important. When the days get hard, you have to think about days like this.”
As we approach Veterans Day, we want to remind our military families that we are grateful for the courage and honor of all of you who serve our great nation. We know you must give up so much and you do it willingly. We are grateful and we care about you.
We hope you hear that over and over again.
Check out our album of images from that special day, and join in the conversation with us as we celebrate those veterans among us, by sharing stories of your own. Through Facebook or Twitter, please use the hashtag #11days11stories to share your own inspirational story of a veteran in your life.