Freedom Salute Ceremony Recognizes Soldiers and the Community

May 16, 2004--Posted at 10:00 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO--The Freedom Salute ceremony recognizes soldiers who have been deployed in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The courageous duty of the soldiers does not go unrecognized.

"The Army National Guard has prepared this package of awards to be presented to the soldiers in appreciation of their service," said Adj. Gen. Don C. Morrow.

The Alpha Company 875th Engineer Battalion left on March 29th 2003, where duties included providing security at a chemical depot in Oregon.

Morrow says the line separating the active soldiers and the soldiers on reserve is quickly dissolving away.

"The army needs our reserve component soldiers very much today. I am happy to say the reserves are responding and doing a tremendous job whatever the mission assigned," said Morrow.

Today's ceremony was to not only recognize the soldiers, but to thank the community members for helping the families of the soldiers who had to leave.

"Someone had to step up and be that center of influence and really help our families. I think it's important  we don't trivialized the sacrifices they made. I think it's important we make every effort to recognize them," said Captain Micheal Henderson.

Soldiers say they appreciate the support by everyone in the community.

"We got so much mail in Washington that they had to create a new mailroom for us.  We wanted to come out and thank the folks in Region 8 for  helping us and providing outstanding support we really appreciate it," said Henderson.

Care packages for one soldiers meant food for everyone.

"He finally told me to stop sending stuff," said Hope Mullins, whose husband is in the Alpha Company, "He put it on top of the refrigerator in the barracks because they had so much food," she said, "I think it's important for the guys to know we're supporting them while they are away from us."