October 4, 2007 - Posted at 5:50 p.m. CDT
PIGGOTT-"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America," said hundreds of Clay Countians as they stood United with the Soldiers of the 875th on Thursday.
"Even though we cannot begin to comprehend all you've been through and endured over the past year, today--more than any other day, we want you to know that we thank you for enduring it all," said Reverend Mike Book.
Those thank you's were showed by flags, signs, shirts, and a sea of red, white, and blue.
"These guys are a special breed of people. They put other people's needs above their own every single day. They are not just national guardsmen, they are your friends and your neighbors," said SFC Bearden of the Arkansas National Guard.
Now those friends and neighbors are finally home from their tour of duty in Iraq.
"They went to a land with a culture that most of us will never understand to fight for the freedoms we all take for granted everyday," said Bearden.
Now freedom has a face, one people can relate to.
And getting to shake the hands of those responsible for that freedom, in itself represents a nation united.
"A country that forgets its soldiers, in time, that country will be forgotten too. To the 875th, thank you! We salute you," said Ed Winberry.
The ceremony concluded with hundreds of balloons being released as family and friends said thank you one by one.