Blytheville Welcomes Home 1123rd Transportation Company

May 08, 2004--Posted at 5:00 p.m.

BLYTHEVILLE--The 1123rd Transportation Company got a warm welcome home this morning. Over one hundred men and women returned from Iraq after being gone nearly one year and family and friends welcomed them home with open arms.

Corey Riggs, an on-looker, said, "We hugged and tried not to cry too much, and it was just really exciting."

"It's a feeling that you really can't express in words. It's beyond,  and surpasses all understanding of forced words," said Laddie Whaley, a family member.

"He hadn't aged any. He looked good, and I was just really glad to see him," said Steven Perry, a family member of a solider returning.

Now that life is returning to normal...everyone says it's time to pick up where they left off.

"A mother is reuniting with her son, while she's been gone, we've had him all this time. It's time to get these two back together,"said Whaley.

Some soldiers even had a surprise waiting on them when they got home.

"...from the time he left, to the time he got home, my wife was pregnant and had already had a baby. ...he was glad to see us, but he was glad to see his grandchild," said Perry.

While this group, in particular, is home....the common message today was not to forget about the American soldiers still fighting in Iraq. One speaker at today's events said "...our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families and their loved ones.  Only God and his great love and mercy can ease the pain of their loss.

As for now soldiers return home and enjoy life with family and friends, and an even greater appreciation for the freedoms we have in the United States.

"It's great to be back in America and Arkansas, and in our hometowns and with our's just wonderful,"said Soldier Gary Perry.