I was invited to attend the Army Wives special screening at Fort Belvoir – and this time, I’m press! As a blogger, I’ve never been able to attend anything as “press”. The room was packed with servicemembers and their spouses, cameras and phone cameras at the ready. The announcement came - and to thunderous applause, in came the stars of the evening –Kim Delaney, Brian McNamara (the Holdens from Army Wives,) then General and Mrs Casey, and Vice President and Dr. Biden.
Kim Delaney (Claudia Joy Holden) worked the crowd, greeting everyone with a smile and a handshake, enjoying herself. Brian McNamara, (General Holden) looked very distinguished in his glasses, he and his young son were also having a great time. And yes, he is as good looking in person, with a huge smile and lots of enthusiasm.
The speeches started, with General Casey getting the ball rolling, telling us he was there to introduce his boss – Mrs. Casey! He thanked all of us for our service, that he was impressed by the strength we have shown throughout the past 9 years. General Casey confessed that he had turned into a “groupie” by watching his second episode of “Army Wives”. Mrs. Casey spoke about her connection with Dr. Biden, and the fact that they both have sons in the service. Then she cracked everyone in the room up (you could tell who really watches Army Wives) when she plaintively asked why the nasty one HAD to be a 4 star General’s wife! (From what I know of Sheila Casey, she is the complete antithesis of Lenore!)
The Vice President spoke to us about having just returned from Ft. Drum, greeting families on the return of their servicemembers from deployment Of course, he referred to his son, and his pride in his service in Iraq, how he felt as a Dad of a deployed soldier, and choked up when he told us about meeting a West Point Graduate at BAMC who, being a triple amputee, apologized to the Vice President for not standing and saluting. When he spoke about being the husband of Dr. Biden, he told us about the decision that she reached after the Iowa primary defeat, - wanting to work with military families, that she had been struck by the resilience she had seen when meeting with military groups – and he repeated his firm conviction that the rest of the country needs to get behind the 1%of the population who do the work in these 2 wars. He introduced Dr. Biden who talked about the military families she had met, and how it felt to film the 6 minutes on the show – it took over 16 hours! Her feelings about being a military mom – “I’ll be doing something and a thought just flies through my head – I hope Beau is ok.” and we all understood exactly how she felt. Then she self deprecatingly told us she hoped we’d all forget her 6 minutes in the morning! (No, ma’am, we didn’t!)
The show started and it was great to see that…. no, I’m not going to tell you anything. You’ll have to tune in on August 8th. I will tell you that Tanya Biank, the author of the book that the show is based on, has a cameo, and was at the event. After years of chatting online with her, or on the phone, I was so glad to finally meet her in person.
After the show, they all stayed, for over two hours. Kim Delaney, Brian McNamara, the Caseys, the Bidens, they made the effort to talk to every person there, posed for hundreds of pictures, smiled and hugged, talked and listened to us. Now if you think the biggest crowd with the loudest noise was around the TV stars – you’d be surprised. Vice President Biden was the man with the most groupies there. If you meet and talk to him, you’ll see that when he’s talking to you, you are the one person in the room he had to speak to, his level of focus is amazing! Dr. Biden – for me it was military mom to military mom, and that’s a connection that is indefinable, it just IS.
Yes, to the ladies in my audience, “General Holden” is as gorgeous as he is on screen. And after getting a picture with the “pretend” general, standing with General Casey – it’s a lot different – that command presence is very very real. It’s palpable, and he’s a gracious gentleman. His “boss” (Mrs. C) was as always, down to earth and ready to talk to any military spouse about anything. Kim Delaney is a lovely lady, and stood on those heels for hours - with a smile for everyone!
Yeah, I’m a fan. Of all of them. Thank you for a wonderful evening!