The Dart: Fiancé keeps in touch by making regular calls from Iraq tour

Published 12:05 am Monday, January 22, 2018


NATCHEZ — One day in September 2017, Vidalia resident Robert Lively was on one knee proposing to his soon-to-be fiancée, Kristin Thornton.

The next, he was heading to Iraq.

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On Friday, Thornton was enjoying the mild weather while using Apple FaceTime to talk to Lively outside of her home on Terry Circle, the landing spot of The Dart this week.

“He actually proposed the day before he left,” Thornton said.

Lively, who deployed for a 9-month tour, is expected to return in June.

As Lively recalled the day he proposed to Thornton on bended knee, he demonstrated how even U.S. soldiers can get a little shaky when it comes to love.

“I was pretty nervous,” Lively said.

After a nice dinner, he brought Thornton to a nearby lakefront to pop the question.

But she almost got away from him before Lively could even ask.

“As I was trying to get down on my knee, she was walking away going back up,” Lively said. “I was like ‘Hey, stop!’”

But a little hitch would not stop Thornton from saying “yes,” and neither would the prospect of her fiancé leaving one day into their engagement.

Lively, a Vidalia High School graduate, and Thornton, a Natchez native, have known each other for almost 20 years. Although the days apart pose a challenge, Thornton said, the two are still able to speak every day.

“It’s tough knowing that you can’t be right beside the person and actually touch them, but the fact that the Internet is so great now, we can actually FaceTime and we message each other daily and we know how each other is doing,” she said.

“Whenever people in the service years ago, they weren’t able to communicate for months, so (we’re) very thankful for the communication. It makes it a bit easier.”

Lively chimed in.

“A lot easier,” he said.

If Lively returns to U.S. soil as scheduled, he will be back with a few months to spare before the couple’s wedding day, planned for Oct. 6.