Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome Home Andy!

Warning - lots of pictures today. :)

Finally it's the day we've waited for! Andy was in Afghanistan for a year and we were so excited to see him again. We got to Fort Campbell and were bussed to a hanger set up for these homecomings.

Here's a few shots of the hanger, filled with welcome home signs.

Bob and I, anxiously waiting. We had to arrive 2 hours before the plane was expected, so it made for a long wait. There was someone monitoring the flight, and he would come out every 15 minutes and tell us how far away they were.

There were lots of kids running and playing during the wait. It reminded us of the sacrifice of so many families. These young kids were without one of their parents for a year, and those parents were missing their kids for that same time.


Finally they announced that the flight was 15 minutes away and we were allowed to go out on the flight line to watch it come in.

Here's Bob, holding up the sign we took along.

Finally the plane comes in!

After it lands, there are things to do before they let them off. First, the Color Guard has to march in.

Then some army officials arrive. Some of them go into the plane to give instructions, then they come back out and prepare to shake the hands of each soldier as they walk onto U.S. soil.

And here they come...

240 soldiers file out of the plane

Where is Andy?

Here's the soldiers view - it was just as hard for them to pick out their loved ones out of that crowd!

We were sent back into the hanger and the soldiers got into formation.

They opened the hanger doors and they marched in.

As they march in, everyone is looking for their soldier.

And there he is! What a wonderful sight!

They open with prayer...

and have a short ceremony.

Then, finally it's time! They release them to the families.
Happy Dad and son

Heather is so glad to see her brother.

They gave us 15 minutes together, then the soldiers had to get into formation again.

They marched back out to begin the business of debriefing.
We stayed in Kentucky for the week and I'll share some of that this week.


chezzy louise said...

yay!!! can't wait to see him!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing these pictures. I cannot imagine the anticipation of seeing him again after such a long wait. I am so very happy for all of you. May God bless.

Musicaljean said...

Oh Mari, those pictures are just spectacular!!! I am in tears. I'm so very happy for you.

Betsy said...

I cannot even imagine that feeling! I got all excited just looking at the photos! How wonderful that is he home safe and sound. :)

Jenny the Pirate said...

They opened in PRAYER? In AMERICA? I can hardly believe it but I'm tickled pink to hear it. Somebody has likely already alerted the ACLU.

Andy looks great. What a joyous reunion! Congratulations to all of you.

Glenda said...

Ah, this touches my heart! I just had to comment on both your blogs! So proud of him even though I've never met him! He and his unit deserve our honor and applause. As I've mentioned before, I have an Andy, too, and he's in the military, also - 16 years now.

Mari G said...

Oh my word! All of this makes me want to ball my eyes out! So happy for you and yours...
Welcome home!

Sue O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue O said...

I can only imagine your excitement and happiness. It makes me want to fly down to San Diego for Charlie's homecoming.

Karen said...

Welcome Home, Andy! Oh, Mari, I can't imagine how you must have felt. I'm in tears, just looking at these pictures.


I'm gonna try and type through the tears streaming down my fact....what a joy. I'm sure you were bawling, I know I would've been. Erik who was deployed during the Gulf War ---I was relieved as only a mother feels to see them step foot on American ground and remain!!!

God Bless them all.


well...see, fact is really supposed to be 'face'....tears streaming down my face.

LuAnn said...

I got chills looking at these pictures and then I cried when I saw them all lined up in the hanger. And there is your hug!!!
So thankful that he is home safely.

Connie said...

I'm in tears. It reminds me of when my brothers had to leave for the army.
What an impressive ceremony. Opening with prayer? Great!!

Brooke said...

so happy for you! :)

also - just wanted to let you know i'm still praying for heather's job situation.

Cheri said...

And.....I'm crying again :)

Susan said...

This has to have been one of the most exciting and happy days of your lives!!!! Your faces say it all.

Kim said...

So exciting! I can only imagine the relief you feel when they're finally home safe and sound!
Loved seeing all the photos, especially the ones of y'all getting to hug your boy :)

Pat said...

As I went from photo to photo my ears filled with more and more tears. By the time I got to the bottom I was just plain crying! I'm so happy for all of you and God bless our military!

Rebecca said...

I can't begin to imagine how your heart must have been beating; maybe a lump in your throat?

I'm thrilled to hear there was a prayer. (A little surprised, too...)

How happy you look to be together!

Saija said...

awww, blessings on you guys ... made me teary to see the pics ... you guys look so proud (and rightly so) ... i'm glad he is safely back on home soil!

Nancy Claeys said...

I'm so happy for you Mari! Smiling from ear to ear right now. :)

Anonymous said...

Mari I am so teary as I type this! Welcome Home to your Andy! And a huge "thank you" to him for serving his country so that we may live in freedom as we do. My husband is retired Army so I know the range of feelings you must have. Great pictures of a most happy time :) I am glad I came here this morning! I came here searching for a barn because of your comment at my blog but I found something so much better! Your Andy home with his family!

Justabeachkat said...

Hi sweet friend!

I haven't had much time to visit, but I'm up early this morning and thought I'd get in a little blog time while I drank my coffee.

This post made me tear up! I can only imagine how hard it was to wait and how exciting it was to see him for the first time! Oh my! I'm so happy for you Mari.


Raise Them Up said...

I love that they opened in prayer. It gives me hope. :)

Thanks so much for sharing your reunion. The pictures made me so thankful for the soldiers and their families.