You know there's just something about a homecoming that makes you just stop, take that deep breath, and oh makes you so grateful that you get the honor and privilege of being an Army wife. This evening a fairly large group of soldiers came home after being deployed for 14 months. They were deployed to Afganistan. Watching the wives and children of those deployed, but now home soldiers sitting oh so unpatiently, giddy with joy knowing that on the other side of that curtain their soldier stood there WAITING for them! It was the briefest homecoming ceremony I've witnessed, but to see those families rush together took my breath away. I didn't cry, which I fully expected to do, but I still had a few flip flops in my stomach. I saw friends reunite with thier husband, I saw Daddy's grab up their babies who were just weeks and months old when they'd last seen them. I also saw single soldiers who had no loved one to greet them and honestly is so beyond heartbreaking for me. They fought in the same war, but have no one to welcome them back so personally and intimately. As we walked away from the gym tonight we said "Welcome Home" to the soldiers as we passed them. We walked up to BK and saw the buses with the single soldiers coming to take them to their barrack's, so we stood there and waved our flags and cheered for them and clapped. They deserve to know they ARE special and they are important. Many were changing out of their ACU's and into civilians and going out, downtown. Pray for them. Pray that they don't make foolish choices. That they don't wake up in the morning regretting what they did tonight. Pray that they get to talk to those who love them and they love and even if only by phone are told how happy they are to be back, safe and sound. The single soldiers were all welcomed back with new sheets, pillows, care baskets that had various items to get them through the first few days if they weren't ready to go to the store.
We still have 13 months before we start preparing our single soldiers rooms, but when I go back to the states I'm going to be buying some sheets. I'm sure I'll send out a "want to help" post so if you or others you know want to help with various items you can. I don't think a lot of people think of what it must be like for the single soldiers returning from deployments, especially when stationed overseas. I've already decided that I'm going to order some welcome home banners for Chad's single soldiers. They're be pretty basic, just a Welcome Home and their name, but I want them to know they are important and special as well.