A mothers son goes to Iraq, part 9... Homecoming.
We are very happy to post another in the continuing series from Melody Pigg. Her son, Marshall, has been in Iraq for much of the year, and here she writes about his visit home...
The last month has been filled with many emotions as we awaited Marshall's homecoming from Iraq. What surprised me the most was that along with the anticipation, excitement, stress, and continued concern for our troops safety, was the fact that I was crying at unexpected times. At the beginning of Marshall's deployment, I would start crying because of the fear and somewhat of a sense of loss, because of the unknown and little to no contact with my son. After about 3 months, the tears diminished and I felt like I was handling everything very well. The nightmares continued, but the tears had lessened. My body was now moving from the "maintaining" mode to full reality. Even though this release was unexpected, it needed to occur and I have been able to experience it with joy.
Homecoming was a remarkable experience. Like many other Marine parents, I was at Victory Field a few hours before our Marines were due to arrive. We'd all hung our "Welcome Home" banners on the fence, had our Marine T-shirts on, pictures of our sons to share, stories to share, smiles on our faces, and sometimes tears streaming down our cheeks as we anxiously awaited their arrival. A local radio station was playing over the loud speakers and as our sons got closer, the disc jockey would announce which town the busses were going through and would tell the citizens to line the streets and cheer for our heroes. Then he announced that the motorcycle group, The Patriot Guards, was escorting the seven busses of Marines back to the base. As a Marine parent, I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for people like The Patriot Guards, The Freeport Flag Ladies in Maine, and Toby Keith, who gave our boys a concert while they were in the "sandbox." All of these people truly support our Military.
It was truly an unforgettable sight to see The Patriot Guards come around the corner with their flags blowing in the breeze, followed by seven busses filled with our sons. The time had come for us to see our boys after seven long months. When the busses pulled up and the Marines started exiting the busses, it became mass confusion. The boys started coming in two gates instead of one. I decided to go to the gate with the least number of people. I searched every face that came through looking for Marshall. When Marshall didn't come through that gate, I turned around to go to the other gate and all I saw was a mass of people. As I walked, my eyes were scanning the crowd looking for my son. Just as I was beginning to panic and tears were rolling down my cheeks because I couldn't find him, I heard that familiar voice say, "Mom." The sound of my voice as I screamed, "Marshall!" was a sound I had never heard before. It was filled with gut wrenching, from the soul emotion. As we hugged, I balled my eyes out. Marshall was home and he looked so good.
This weekend Marshall will be returning home for a visit. He's got alot of people that are anxious to see him. The reunion that I'm looking forward to the most is with his brother, Michael. The precious little boy, who seven months ago, was asking, "What am I going to do without Bubba?" will be able to see Bubba again.
Please continue to pray for our troops. Our prayers go to all of the parents who's sons and daughters were injured or killed in action. As we're celebrating our son's safe return, we're also remembering these families and their sacrifices. Our hearts break for your loss.