The One About A Surprise Irish Birthday Party

We celebrated an Irish-themed birthday this weekend.

My long-time blog readers will recognize the birthday bloke. It’s JV, my former colleague from the Pentagon and the photographer of my deployed news team back in 2007.

He’s sort of a legend.

Did you know?

It’s true.

His photo of Christmas wreaths at Arlington went viral before “going viral” was even part of the American social media venacular. It even made Snopes.

But of course, if you ask him about it, he just sort of shrugs and says, “Oh, yeah. That.”

He’d say the same thing about what he did for JB that day in Iraq, too.

He retired from the Air Force the same year I left active duty, although he’s still taking photos at the Pentagon as a civilian. It’s been awhile since our families got together, so I was very excited when his wife sent us an invite for his surprise birthday party.

Because if there’s one thing almost as good as visiting with JV’s family, it’s reminding him that he’s …. well … up there in the years.

Corned beef, potatoes, pasta, and authentic Irish soda bread.

The party was held at a mutual friend’s house, where an Irish meal was whipped up for the occasion. Everything went according to plan, and JV showed up after all the others, and seemed genuinely surprised to see everyone.

We stayed until late in the evening, sitting around a backyard fire pit as our kids chased each other in the dark with flashlights. It’s been more than a year since I saw JV and his family, but nevertheless, the conversation just picks up and goes like no time has passed at all.

Of course, being connected online makes it easy to stay up on the latest, but there’s something to be said about the friendships Martin and I made throughout my military career. I was lucky to have served with so many great people.

And JV is one of the really great ones.

Even if he is old.

Homemade German chocolate cake. Be jealous.

As for updates about the other members of my deployed team,
you can read about them HERE and HERE.