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Mandi M.

His name is Matt, mine is Mandi, and we were both born and raised in southern West Virginia. We were childhood sweethearts who eventually went separate directions. We ran into each other and got back together in December 2007. Matt joined the Army and left for boot camp just days after. After a five long months, I went to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to see him graduate. The day before graduation, they had a family day where we could spend the day with our soldiers.

At the beginning of the day, all the soldiers lined up outside as their drill sergeants gave them their briefs. Before he yelled, "Dismissed!" the drill sergeant yelled, "P.F.C. Keen! Front and center!" At this point, I was freaking out because I thought he was in trouble and wouldn't be able to spend the day with me or his family. Matt didn't walk up to his sergeant though. He walked over to me in front of the 500 soldiers standing there with ALL of their families. Everyone was looking at me, and I was wondering what the heck he was doing and why he wasn't listening to his drill sergeant.

He walked over to me, kissed my forehead and said, "Mandi, I love you. There's no one else out there for me, who will support me through the military and be there to wait for me to return. There's no one who believes in me more than you, and I want you there with me for the rest of my life. " He got down on one knee and asked, "So, will you join the army life, and marry me?"

I was in shock at this moment because I had no idea. I was crying with 1000 people looking at me, and I froze! He then whispered, "Please answer me?" and I said, "YES!" He stood up and hugged me and picked me up. All the soldiers standing there yelled out, "Hooah!"

He walked back over and got in line, then the drill sergeant dismissed them. Everyone came over afterward, congratulating us. All the soldiers told me about how Matt had been planning it for quite some time. I thought it was an awesome way to propose. The army is his way of life, so all those soldiers are his brothers and sisters. For him to do that in front of all of them was an honor. We aren't sure when we will get married because he's in Iraq right now, but I hope you enjoyed our story!

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