Winner of Best Engagement Story 2

Hand in hand, we soared over the beach as the helicopter banked left. I gazed down and squinted to read the words I saw lightly etched into the sand.

With blurry eyes and a quivering lip, the words fumbled from my mouth. “Does … does that say my name?”

“Alea, will you marry me?” It read.

I turned to kiss him, and the shimmer of the ring caught my eye. He moved my headset’s mouthpiece to the side and kissed me.

“Alea, will you marry me?”

From 7,500 miles away, serving in Afghanistan, he planned and coordinated every detail of his perfect proposal. Using the eight minutes left on his phone card, he arranged the helicopter flight tour, something I had always wanted to do. Bombings and sandstorms delayed his return and complicated his plans, but seven days later, we both said, “I do” standing barefoot on the banks of a creek.