Friday, April 3, 2009

A Hero's Welcome

He's baa-aack!

Jason came home from Afghanistan yesterday - he arrived around 9 last night at Fort Campbell. We are so happy he's home!

Jason knew, of course, that Krystal and Zoey would be there to greet him, but he didn't know that the rest of the family would be there, too.

Even though it stormed and rained buckets, we had a great time waiting for him and being there to hug him when he arrived.

We drove to Clarksville and dropped off some very important items at Krystal and Jason's new house (balloons, German chocolate cake, Krispy Kreme doughnuts), and then followed Krystal onto the base where we waited to catch a shuttle to the hangar where J's plane would land.


It got pretty windy and a little chilly, so Zoey borrowed her mama's hat to keep her little head warm while we waited for the bus.

I think it could've been snowing and we would not have cared.

In addition to our family, Krystal's mom and step-dad were also there to welcome Jason home. We all loaded the bus together and headed to the airstrip.

The emblem of Jason's unit is the spade, so Zoey just had to have one of her own to hold!

In addition to the signs, there was a live musician and refreshments while we waited in the hangar. We were there for about two hours, so we had fun socializing and people-watching.

I think those signs say it all.

I hadn't realized how huge Fort Campbell was - it's a city unto itself. There were about 300 soldiers that returned with Jason for this tour alone.

Anxiously waiting....ok, so maybe Zoey wasn't that anxious. She was, however, quite the attention-grabber as a reporter from the Leaf-Chronicle took her picture with her Gran and asked who they were welcoming. She's such a little celeb!

As we were waiting, we were given updates as to how far out the plane was...one hour, 45 minutes, 30 minutes - and then we finally got permission to go out onto the airstrip to see this! You should have heard the cheers when the plane door opened.

It was so dark and wet that it was hard to see, but my dad and Brandon managed to spot J and yell at him as he was walking past us. He was surprised! All the soldiers dropped their gear outside and then got into formation and waited for us to get back into the hangar for the welcoming ceremony.

When those huge doors slid open and they marched into the hangar to a collective cheer, there was not a dry eye, quiet mouth or idle hand in the room.
After a very brief welcome speech, we were told to "go find your soldier."

We did.

There is no place like home...

...no place at all.
I have a feeling this will be happening a lot over the next few days.

Hugs all around...

...and even more smiles. It struck me how, for about 5 or 6 minutes, none of us said anything at all. We just stood there and smiled until our faces hurt.

It's the little things that make you realize how much you love someone.

Sheer joy.

"Yo...I know you. Come here and let me eat your nose."

We love you, J...WELCOME HOME!!!




Fletcher.Sign

12 comments:

Amanda said...

WELCOME HOME Jason!!!!!!! Thank you for all you do! I am so proud of you! :-)

Laura said...

I have tears in my eyes! I LOVED this post!! Welcome home, Soldier, and thank you!

Micah said...

Awww, Lauren, this post made me cry. I'm so glad he made it home safely. I wish they all could...

Cary Hairbows said...

OH WOW! That made me cry!! BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

God bless our brave service men and women!! Never stop praying for our heroes. I hope he enjoys his time home. Welcome home!!!! Thank you from our family--we are so thankful that you are helping to protect our great USA!

Shannon

Lauren Kelly said...

This is just flat out awesome!!! What a moment and the pictures say it all. Miss chatting with you, Lauren :o) Welcome home, Jason!!!

Justin and Jessica said...

I have tears in my eyes. What a great post!

Meagan said...

THis post totally made me cry! lol. I am SO glad Jason is home!!!!!

Leigh Ann said...

Oh my gosh! I am bawling! I just remember what that feels like. Wasn't it torture for them to have to get into formation and not getting to go over and hug them right away!?! I love all the pics your got of Jason, K and Z! Just precious. I know you are so glad he is home. So am I! Tell him Welcome Home, Thank you, and we are proud of him!

Your comment about another "A" word cracked me completely up! That's why I love you!!!

Rachel Wheat said...

YAAAAAYYYYYYY!

Duane said...

That makes me just want to cry. I don't know what I would do or how I would cope with being that far away from my baby. Please tell him welcome home and most importantly...THANK YOU from the Yoshida family.

Megan L Hutchings said...

WELCOME HOME JASON!!! This brought such tears to my eyes :)!

I can only imagine what this past weekend was like...pure joy, happiness, and warmth of family and home!

T Sharee said...

What an awesome post! I am from TN too! Jacksboro to be exact. My boyfriend was down your way a few months ago for some work training at a place called Fleming. He has to go back next month and I am thinking about joining him. Are there any good places to shop?