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A relaxed atmopshere

Post by News Tribune Staff on Aug. 19, 2008 at 1:53 pm with No Comments »
August 19, 2008 1:53 pm

Col. Ronald Kapral sat at the wooden picnic table and flipped through white index cards. The man who will lead the 81st Brigade into war was minutes away from addressing more than 700 soldiers at Auburn’s Game Farm Park, and he was trying at the last minute to nail his speech.

"I don’t even know why I write all this down," he said. "I usually just get up there and ad-lib it."

That might be more appropriate for the ceremony, which seems relaxed by military standards. Families and soldiers are milling about the park, taking cover from the sun under tents. Everyone seems to be snapping photos, and there is more than a few footballs sailing through the air. An inflatable playground in one corner is set up for kids to enjoy their time.

And, of course, there has been more than one joke about getting in that one last beer before deployment.

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