September 21, 2006 - Posted at 6:00 p.m. CDT
Jonesboro, AR_Their furlough, which many of you helped to pay for through donations to Operation Freedom Furlough, ended much too quickly. The light of day brought tears, hugs and prayers for Charlie Company, which departed Paragould a little after 8:30 a.m. this morning.
With the bravest of faces... the departing soldiers tried to greet the day. Thronged by family, friends, and loved ones, the 875th treasured those last moments, and recognized what lies ahead.
"Just want to go over there and do our best. Do our job. Stay safe and come home alive", said Sgt. Michael Goldinger of the 875th Engineer Battalion.
Their mission to Iraq won't be easy, but the community of Paragould wanted them to know this morning just how important they felt their sacrifice was for their country.
"They're just insuring that Paragould will remain a great place to live. Because having the freedoms that we have that all depends on men like these to continue to insure that we have that freedom", said Sue McGowan of the Paragould Chamber of Commerce.
Families savored those last minutes... glad to have had the 875th home before deployment to Iraq.
"Excited to see him come home. Hate to see him leave again. But I know he has to do his job", said Teresa Goldinger, wife of a deployed soldier.
And even the littlest Paragould citizens recognized the seriousness of this day... a day when it just hurt too much to say good-bye to daddy. Every where you looked, hearts were heavy. There was no stopping the tears...especially when the two busses filled with soldiers pulled out, bound for a destination far from here.... but now far from the hearts of those left behind.