A Warrior’s Homecoming

October 27, 2009

My wife and I received a much anticipated e-mail on Monday, October 19, from our son, Luke, informing us of his stateside arrival!  We had been waiting for this announcement for quite some time, as I explained in my “9/11” blog this past September 11th.  His call to us in August informing us of his arrival in Germany, and his leaving Iraq for the last time lifted a tremendous weight from our shoulders.

No longer would we dread the sound of a car driving slowly around our cul-de-sac late at night; No longer would the sight of a dark colored official looking sedan passing our front window cause our hearts to skip a beat; No longer would we hold our breath praying we would not find a car parked in front of our house when we turned the corner into our neighborhood after returning from running errands!

Our thoughts then turned to wondering who would be returning to us.  Would Luke be haunted by his experiences in Iraq or would he somewhat resemble the 19 year old we dropped off at MEPPS in September ’03?  Does he have PTSD – How could he not?  Would he move about like he was still in a combat zone with a “thousand yard stare”, or learn to relax and once again become “our Luke”?

The welcome home sign we made and took to DIA received mixed reviews from the passing public.  We were pleased with the mostly positive reactions.  A number of Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, 1st Gulf War, and the current wars stopped by or signaled their support.  It was quite moving.  40 minutes of impatiently waiting turned to joy when Luke appeared at the top of the escalator!  Tears flowed as son embraced Mother and then Dad.  The sound of applause came from behind us – seems some folks who had seen our sign decided to wait and watch our reunion and show their appreciation.  It was very humbling and very moving and for those that rendered honors to our son, we thank you!

How many times has this scene been repeated?  How many Mothers have waited for a son’s return from Harm’s Way?  How many Dads waited stoically to shake their son’s hand and tell him “Well Done and Welcome Home”?  How many, like me, wept unashamedly at first sight of their son returning as a Warrior and could not wait to hold him in my arms and know he is alive and home?

Well Done, Son!  Welcome Home!  Daddy loves you!

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