Veterans Day is Cheerful for 39th Troops Who Return Home to Region 8

November 11, 2004 – Posted at 8:28 p.m. CST

SEARCY -- This year's Veterans Day had a whole new meaning for families and soldiers in Region 8. For troops overseas, coming home is always a sweet celebration.

The newest veterans of the Arkansas Army National Guard's 39th Infantry Brigade Thursday as they returned back to the Natural State. There were tears, hugs and plenty of smiles Thursday afternoon when, for some, a very long journey came to an end at the National Guard Readiness Center in Searcy.

Eight-year-old Kristin Darnell said, "I'm excited for him to be back, I don't want him to leave again."

Kristin Darnell and her six-year-old brother Jacob have some big plans for their dad.

"We have to go hunting and fishing," said Jacob Darnell, as he held his father's hand.

"This is my third deployment, so it's not a new thing to me. But this has been one of the best reunions of all," said Sgt. David Darnell, a veteran home from war.

Sgt. Darnell was just one of about 100 soldiers whose final stop Thursday was Searcy. And for a soldier at the end of his journey...there's no place like home.

"I don't think words can really describe it. It's just an awesome feeling. I couldn't describe it to someone, it is just an awesome feeling," said Sgt. Darnell.

"It's something sent from heaven," said Kim Darnell, as she hugged her husband.

And it was heaven on earth for many Region 8 families, who have been waiting to see their loved ones.

"It's exciting!" said Mark Harmon said of his brother's return, "We've been counting down the days, getting from Kuwait, over to Germany, Maine, Texas and now home."

"It was a long process, but it was worth it," said Brian Harmon, a veteran home from war.

Even though these soldiers are thousands of miles away, their thoughts are still back in the Middle East.

"It's a huge relief, but I'm still thinking about my guys. My buddies that are still over there. It won't be a day I don't think about them. Waiting for them to come back home," said Brian Harmon.

The soldiers left Fort Hood, Texas, Thursday morning, stopping in Hope and Camp Robinson before they made it home to Searcy.