WASHINGTON — The cellphone photos were taken almost simultaneously by close friends separated by nearly 7,000 miles.
Joe Sander, assistant superintendent for Washington Community High School, shot a photo of graduate Delaney Maroon as she walked across the stage in front of Sander and other administrators during the high school's graduation ceremony in May at Bradley University's Renaissance Coliseum.
"I took one photo of Delaney, and put my phone away in a suit pocket," Sander said. "I knew Delaney's dad was overseas in Kuwait and I thought taking a photo of her at graduation would be a great gift for her dad."
While Sander was taking the photo of Delaney, her father, Army National Guard Sgt. Mark Maroon, was capturing a screenshot of the graduation ceremony that was being live streamed on YouTube.
The screenshot showed Sander taking the photo of Delaney.
"How amazing that two friends snapped pics with their phones at almost the same time ... 6,864 miles apart," Sander said. "I took out my phone again towards the end of the graduation ceremony. That's when I saw Mark's screenshot and a text from him."
This was the text from Mark Maroon, who was on a transition base in Kuwait before heading to Afghanistan:
"Did Delaney hire a photographer? Thank you so much for streaming the graduation! I would have missed it if you wasn't for you guys streaming on YouTube. That's what right looks like! That's the story ... senior joins the guard, dad was deployed and could only watch his daughter graduate on live stream! That's what right looks like!"
Delaney is keeping a family tradition alive. She's joined the Army National Guard and will do basic training this summer.
Sander serves in the Air National Guard. He joined in 2003.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.