The Military College of South Carolina
give online buttongive online button apply now buttonapply now button

Our journey comes to an end

Written by Charlene Gunnells
Saturday, 14 August 2010 19:09


As a newspaper reporter I enjoyed my anonymity. People knew my name but not my face. When I came to The Citadel I became a bit more of a public figure, appearing on television news on behalf of the college. It never occurred to me when I went to Scotland on behalf of the college that people would want to know who was behind "The Citadel External Affairs" on Facebook. But many of you did. Not only that, you wanted to see my picture too.

So on the occasion of my departure from Scotland I decided to give you what you want. But I thought I would tell you a bit about my journey too.

Russ Pace, the official college photographer, and I embarked on the trip to Edinburgh July 28 - the same day as the Regimental Band and Pipes. Our goal was to photograph and shoot video throughout our 18-day journey. We flew separately from the band, and because we missed our connecting flight in Newark (thanks to a visit to New Jersey that day by President Barrack Obama) we arrived a day later than the band. Jet lagged and sleep deprived (and missing our luggage and some equipment) we were on the way to the first rehearsal with the band within an hour of arrival in the country. From then on, everywhere the band went we went snapping pictures and filming every word and note played. Our goal was to make you feel like you were there even if you weren't.

The response to our work was overwhelming and heartwarming. Many of you told us you were addicted to it. Others said your morning ritual now includes going to the web pages to read the latest travel blog, too look for your cadets in the photo slideshows and picture albums and to watch the videos that chronicle the trip. You asked us to keep an eye on your cadets. You emailed me with questions when you had not heard from them in a while. You provided feedback on all our work and asked questions. When you came to Scotland you hugged us like family. And you asked us to keep the pictures, stories and video coming. We worked day and night, seven days a week for 18 days to do just that.

Russ and I left Scotland on Aug. 13. It was hard to leave. The cadets had grown comfortable with us and we had grown attached to them. They are funny, smart, hardworking and determined young men and women who worked daily to do everyone back home -- not to mention the 8,700 people in the audience each night -- proud. As the plane's wheels lifted of the tarmac at Edinburgh airport, Russ and I were both solemn and emotional. We got to meet some great people within the Tattoo organization and witness some truly outstanding performances. We shared in the immense pride of being part of "America's Band." When the cadets marched onto the esplanade each night we were as excited and proud as any of their parents.

There are a few more videos to post but our coverage has essentially come to an end. There may be occasional blogs from the cadets if their time permits and we hope to see pictures once in a while from Capt. Dillahey, who is an outstanding photographer, and the cadets now among my personal Facebook friends and the fan base of The Citadel External Affairs.

Russ and I would have liked to stay in Edinburgh longer but we are grateful for the time we had and for the tremendous opportunity to share the 2010 journey to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo with a great group of cadets, Cmdr. Mike Alverson, Capt. Jim Dillahey Maj. Jeff Price and everyone else in The Citadel family. We sincerely loved every single minute of it. Thank you.

Back to Top