Sunday, June 8, 2008

Homecoming: Part 1

It was finally the day we had waited for: the 111th Combat Engineers of the WV Army National Guard was to arrive home from their mission at Camp Speicher, Tikrit, Iraq. Among the soldiers would be my son, First Sergeant Derek Ford, returning from his second deployment in the current war, and his third including the first Gulf War.

We traveled to the Air National Guard base in Charleston, WV to wait for the planes to arrive. At the base, shuttle buses waited to ferry us from parking to the hangar where crowds were already waiting for the troops.

Haley proudly wore the National Guard hat her dad gave her. She's his girl, no doubt about it.

Many families made posters and signs to welcome their soldiers home, like these placed along the fence leading to the hangar.

Then it was wait...and wait. The planes had been delayed by a bad storm in Minnesota, we were told. They would be an hour behind schedule. With temperatures in the 90's the hangar was actually not too bad. My son Tom and grandson Jared look a little bored, don't they? I found a friend to talk to, so time passed a little more quickly for me.

Bored, bored, bored, hot and waiting.

Hannah found a friend to hang out with too, and hitched a ride around the hangar.

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