Most of us know what it means to attend a family reunion. You see the cousin you haven’t seen in years, or you avoid that aunt who squeezes your cheeks to the point of excruciating pain, no matter how old you are.
For a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, All American Week is much like a Family reunion. The old timers, those retired, will have breakfast, see some long time friends and remember those who have passed. They will reunite, if only for this week, with those they considered Family as they trained and fought. They will pay homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
For those still serving, this week will be a time to build camaraderie and display their pride and passion for being a part of America’s Guard of Honor. They will participate in the division run and other athletic events. There will be picnics and golf. Much like Family, these men and women understand what the one on their left and right have experienced. The older remember while the younger look to what is to come.
These Soldiers will compete, representing their individual units. They will look forward to revelling in victory with one another or shaking their heads in defeat.
However they fare, one truth remains; these are the men and women, the Soldiers, of the 82nd. They are the Soldiers who fall from the sky, who jump without hesitation. These All American paratroopers can respond to any crisis, world wide, within 18 hours.
At the conclusion of the All American Week events and celebrations, there will be a time of remembrance. Ceremonial wreaths will be laid in memory and honor of those who gave the last full measure of devotion. The induction of the newest 82nd Abn. Div. Hall of Fame members will commence. Traditions continue, the airborne heritage is remembered, and the legacy of the division lives on.
Regardless of retired or active, these men and women will join together once again, share in the moment where past and present collide, and give a shout, “ALL THE WAY!”