Departing on Their Great Adventure
Part 1 of this story with may more to follow


(Friday, 26 July 2002; Norfork, Arkansas) Jessica and Rebecca Geery begin their year in the Congress-Bundesrat Foreign Exchange Student Program by going through the security screening area at Memphis International Airport, on their way to Washington, DC, and ultimately (by Monday; 29 July) Frankfurt, Germany. These pictures don't come close to illustrating the emotion of the moment for either their parents or themselves. Daughters of Wade and Sue Geery of Norfork, they were announced as competitive winners of this scholarship program prior to their spring 2002 graduation from Norfork High School. Rebecca will be living in a small town called Adenau, Germany and Jessica will be living about 100 kilometers away near the city of Bad Kreuznach. Both municipalities lie in the German State of Rheinland-Pfalz in the central-western part of that country. As a young lieutenant in the US Army, Mr. Geery's first overseas assignment was as a Nike-Hercules anti-aircraft guided missile officer in Hontheim and Baumholder, cities located somewhat in between those first two towns in the Mosel-Saar-Ruhr region of the country. Mr. Geery stated, "This area and that time in my career holds many fond memories of life in a foreign land and the challenging duty environment that I was exposed. Both of our sons were born during this assignment; Randy at Bitburg US Air Base, and Travis (a 1994 graduate of Norfork High School and most recently a 2002 Masters in Fine Arts recepient from the University of Deleware) was born at the US Army Hospital in Landstuhl, near Kaiserslautern, Germany."

One of their checked bags was overweight by six pounds, so Rebecca had to carry her coat for the rest of the trip. Despite the smiles on each others faces, Rebecca was about to get hassled royally by the upcoming baggage screener. A manicure set she took out of the overweight checked bag and transferred to her carry-on bag was screened, opened, and partially confiscated by the security screeners. A nail file and miniture scissors are considered "deadly" weapons, thus not allowed in carry-on bags. After 9/11, it seems that we all must suffer the consequences brought about by those few cowards.

About 10 minutes later, they compose themselves and stroll down the corridor to their departure gate. Thus at 5:51AM, their journey gets off to an anxious start. Luckily, they met several other students at Memphis and during a connecting layover at Atlanta. By re-telling their story to each new student they met, they entertained themselves with tales of their on-going adventure. They both arrived safe and sound in Washington around 2PM that afternoon. Their great adventure has begun.