But the 2025th Transportation Company sendoff contained a bigger message: In this year of ramped-up National Guard activity to Iraq and Afghanistan, Alabama's role as one of the top providers of Guardsmen is secure.
By the end of this year, the Alabama Army and Air National Guard will have mobilized nearly 16,000 members since America's twin wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began earlier this decade, the Guard says.
The departed 2025th members are part of the nearly 1,600 Guardsmen from Alabama who will be sent to the Middle East this year, the Birmingham News reports.
Two factors are clear: America's war efforts show few, if any, signs of lessening the use of Guardsmen for overseas duty, and the strain on National Guard families is only intensifying.
Those who know members of the 2025th, or happened to be in attendance at Wednesday's sendoff, are well aware of that fact.
The rate of National Guard service varies state to state, region to region. The modern-day South, and especially Alabama, is a fertile ground for Guard recruiters looking for civilians willing to dedicate a portion of their lives to military service.
Alabamians of different viewpoints will argue over wars and their necessity, but we can all wish for the safe return of the Guardsmen sent overseas.