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We just arrived home last night from Fort Campbell...spent 4 wonderful days with Jonathan!!!
He feels great, looks great, and is glad to be home.

We went to the base late Friday/early Saturday at 4 am for the Welcome Home ceremony. They took us from the parade grounds to a hangar on the tarmac at 5:30 am.
At 6:30, they announced that the plane was 20 minutes out and we headed for the tarmac. As we all stood there anxiously waiting, the crowd was buzzing with excitement. We kept watching the horizon for our first glimpse of the Freedom Bird....and when we saw the lights, the noise and cheers were unbelievable.
Then the weirdest thing happened....as the sun was just peeking up, and dawn was approaching, an eery silence enveloped the crowd....you could have heard a pin drop the last 15 minutes as we waited for the plane to touch down. As soon as the wheels hit the runway, the cheering began again.
The plane taxied right in front of us...about 100 yards away, and after they wheeled the steps up to it, an Honor Guard marched in front of us and presented the colors at the door. The first soldier stepped out, and all was quiet again....he was carrying the company's flag, and the soldiers started down the stairs. They had them walk single file in front of us, in full battle gear, with their heads held high....we waited anxiously as soldier after soldier departed the plane, and finally, there was Jonathan!!! The tears flowed and I felt feelings of joy, pride and happiness like never before....my son was home!!!
They marched into the hangar, got into company formation, and stood at rigid attention for a half hour during the ceremony, after which we would get 20 minutes with them before they had to work for half a day turning in their gear and getting squared away.
Finally, the ceremony was over, and it was pandemonium as parents, wives, girlfriends and family members scrambled to find their loved one....that first hug was so overwhelming....I thought of all the hugs goodnight, the hugs when he scraped his knee, the hugs when the monsters were under his bed and dad had to chase them away....now here I was looking UP at him, hugging him as his M4 rifle banged against our legs!!!
We made our way outside to get away from the crowd and have a smoke, take some pictures, etc....
As we stood outside talking, I looked around and saw soldiers on crutches, with canes, casts, bandages, etc...Then I noticed a group of 3 soldiers standing on the fringes by themselves...kids, just 18 or 19, back from war. They were standing quietly watching the happy reunions, looking around with sad eyes. I walked over to them, offered them a smoke and welcomed them home. I thanked them for what they had done, for helping to keep our country safe, and for helping to bring my son home to me.
I asked where their families were, and they each had their own sad story....broken homes, a mom who couldn't afford to be there, an orphan with no family at all. As the tears welled up in my eyes, I thanked them again for their selfless sacrifice, and these three young men, these brave soldiers, started wiping their eyes, and swept me up in a big ole' bear hug and thanked me for thanking them!!! I wished them luck and made my way back to my family. The 20 minutes ended way too soon, but it would only be hours before we could spend some real time together.
I'll post a few pic's after I download them this weekend.
 

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How wonderful for you, your family, your son and all the soldiers who made it home... You also showed those other 3 soldiers that they were appreciated.... Good for you.... How wonderful.... :>)
 

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Great news Ken! It's been a long time coming. Now when are we going to have that welcome home party we've been planning for months?
 

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Please offer im a great BIG HUGE THANK YOU from ME and my family for giving so

much of himself to defend our country...
 

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That was very cool of you to do that.
 

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i always enjoy reading what you have to say. gotta say i'm moved to tears as well. *sniff* you are one awesome guy, ken!


and yeah, like re said: when/where's the welcome home party!
 

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Tears of joy here....we are so happy for you Ken and your son!
 

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glad to hear that he is home safe. now all we need are the rest of them back here in the usa. congrats to you and thank you to your son.
 

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So happy to hear that your son is home safe! What a wonderful feeling. And thank you from everyone in my family for what you did for those three boys. We couldn't afford to be there when my brother came home from the gulf war. It warms my heart to know that someone out there may have done the same. To thank them with open arms is a wonderful gift that I am sure that they will never forget.
 

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Oh, my heart i just filled with love from what you just shared (and a few tears).
I know you've have been anxiously awaiting this day!!!!

Remember, Kid Rock coming soon!!!!
 

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Ken....your story brought a tear to my eye....man! Glad your son is here safe and sound. Can't wait to meet and buy him a beer.
 
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