Specialist Travis Dringman, 20, from Danwood, Wash., guideon bearer for Bravo Troop, participates in a Veterans Day ceremony for the Fifth Sqaudron First Cavalry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, AK, on Wed., November 10, 2010. The troop commanders honor the tradition of the calvalry by wearing the Stetson hat and spurs. The 5/1 Cav honored their 11 soldiers killed in Iraq between 2005 and 2009.

Early last week, I had asked Maj. Dave Mattox, a public affairs officer at Fort Wainwright, if there would be any ceremonies on base for Veterans Day. On Wednesday, Nov. 10, when I returned from lunch at 13:30, I found an e-mail: “There is a memorial ceremony today for the cavalry unit at 3 p.m. I know late notice…I just found out myself 30 minutes ago. But the cavalry with their Stetsons, spurs, in the snow, holding a memorial with a wreath laying…I enjoyed it last year. If you want to come by, just call me.”

I called and said I wanted to attend. He said he’d meet me at the gate at 14:30.

I ran the calculations quickly: 20 minutes to get home and grab my gear, 30 minutes to get to the base. I had just enough time. I dashed home, grabbed my camera gear, extra batteries, extra clothes, a notebook, tossing everything in one bag. I figured I’d have time to get organized when Maj. Mattox drove me to the site of the ceremony.

I arrived on time, a minute or two ahead of Maj. Mattox.  As he drove, he briefed me on the ceremony and the protocol for me, as a member of the media.

On Veterans Day 2010, The 5/1 Cavalry honored 11 soldiers killed in Iraq between 2005 and 2009. The campaign streamers on the flag represents the squadron's long history of battles and war service.

As the daughter of a soldier, I knew the protocol: Be respectful of the soldiers and the family members in attendance.  I moved quickly. The light was gorgeous. Snow and brass sparkled. I didn’t have much time before the ceremony began.

As a photographer, I felt great to be shooting again after so much time teaching in classroom. As a military brat, I felt honored to be present. I’m including a number of photographs here because some of the soldiers and my students at University of Alaska Fairbanks have asked to see them.

Command Sgt. Major Joseph McFarlane stands facing his troops before the start of a Veterans Day ceremony for the Fifth Squadron First Cavalry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, AK, on Wed., November 10, 2010. The 5/1 Cav honored 11 soldiers killed in Iraq between 2005 and 2009. These soldiers are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan by early spring 2011.

First Sgt. Leonard Strickland, from Bainbridge, Georgia, waits for the start of a Veterans Day ceremony for the Fifth Squadron First Cavalry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, AK.

Soldiers lay a wreath at a memorial plaque during a Veterans Day ceremony for the Fifth Squadron First Cavalry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, AK. The troop commanders honor the tradition of the calvalry by wearing the Stetson hat and spurs. Between 2005 and 2009, the 5/1 Cav had 11 soldiers killed in Iraq; their names are listed on the memorial.

Soldiers participates in a Veterans Day ceremony for the Fifth Squadron First Cavalry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, AK, on Wed., November 10, 2010.

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