1. Lance Buchanan and Lt. Kyle Bandermann met in the fall of 2012. Last week, the lieutenant decided to pop the question.
The couple met as Kyle was finishing up his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
2. The American Military Partner Association posted this photo of the proposal to Facebook shortly after — in one day, the image had 1.3 million views.
The photo has now reached well over 2 million people.
3. Kyle gave two specific reasons for wearing his Naval whites during the proposal:
First, anyone who knows my work knows that I love my fellow service members, the camaraderie of the military community, and specifically the culture, pride, and professionalism of the U.S. Navy. It has become a part of my identity and I am grateful to call the Navy home. I am myself, both in uniform and civilian clothes. However, I realize that being a Naval Officer calls me to something much bigger than myself, and provides me a sense of pride and awareness of my actions while wearing my Nation’s colors.
Secondly, when we as service members ask our partner to become our spouse, we’re also asking them to commit to being a part of the military family. Lance has sacrificed a great deal for me and the Navy. He moved from his comfort zone and family in rural Western North Carolina to the metropolitan D.C. area. He will sacrifice even more for his country in November as we move halfway around the world to the Island of Guam for three years. It is only right that I officially ask him to join the Navy family as we begin to form our own. Our military spouses are as much an integral part of the military structure as we service members are.
4. BuzzFeed reached out to the newly engaged couple for their (super-romantic and adorable) side of story.
5. Lance told BuzzFeed, “Despite half a million views being my own, I’m astounded by the amount of attention the photo has received.”
As I volunteer as Communications Intern for the American Military Partner Association (AMPA, an organization serving modern military families, especially the LGBT community), the photo was shared on our wall as a congratulations from my boss. We had no idea the photo would mean so much (for better or for worse) to so many people.
6. Kyle had originally told Lance that his coworker, another Navy lieutenant, was getting engaged. Lance — being a freelance photographer — was to come and to take photos of the proposal.
7. The planned meeting spot was one of the first places the couple had seen when visiting Washington, D.C., for the first time in 2013.
8. Friends and family were told to arrive ahead of time. There was even a hashtag organized so everyone could share their perspective on the big moment.
9. That morning, Kyle made sure to hide Lance’s phone so he wouldn’t see any of the social media posts and figure out what was actually going on.
10. The pouring rain cleared up just in time for the big moment, with a very timely rainbow to seal the deal.
Lance’s take on the rainbow? “Just one of the many ‘signs’ we have seen in the past years that we believe have been God revealing to us His will for us to be together.”