He’s HOME-Part 1

Exactly a week ago today, Tony arrived home from his deployment.  I planned to leave by noon on Thursday, February 28, to drive to Lehigh Valley International Airport to greet him.  In traditional style, things didn’t happen as I had anticipated….

 

Tony called me as I was getting ready to leave, saying his flight was delayed an hour due to mechanical issues.  He said that meant he would miss his connecting flight, and would not arrive when we thought he would.  He told me to hold on, and not leave yet.  I had our friend Kim help me in relaying all this information to the Marines and family members who were planning to join us at the airport.  Over 30 minutes later, Tony called me to say that he was flying into Philadelphia International Airport instead, and that is where I should meet him.  He said he was boarding the plane now, and would be there in an hour and a half.  Talk of a change of plans!

 

I quickly gathered my things and left the house.  PHL is at least an hour and a half drive from here, and I honestly am not that familiar with the airport.  I figured I would drive that direction and hope to beat him there.  The drive was chaotic, with friends and family calling and texting me since things had changed.  Our friend Paul (a former Marine who Tony served with and deployed in 2003 with) is a police officer in PHL, and he arranged for us to park our cars in a no parking zone, so that we could try to get inside before Tony got off the plane.  Paul figured out what terminal Tony was arriving in, kept me posted that the flight was delayed 15 minutes, and had it all figured out for me when I got there.  He definitely helped to keep me calm by all that he did!  We parked, and were literally inside for no more than 10 minutes before he was walking towards us!

 

(Since Paul had put the officers on alert for Tony, as he was walking off of the place, security kindly escorted him to the baggage area where we were waiting.  All the TSA agents shook his hand as he walked past, and thanked him.)

 

There were over a dozen of us in his welcoming committee, including family, friends, Brad’s widow Lynsay, and Brad’s parents.  As he had previously expressed a desire to do, we left the airport and drove straight to Washington Crossing National Cemetery, where Brad is buried.  Tony said he needed to “see Brad” as soon as he got home.  A few other Marines met us at the cemetery, and they were able to pay their respects together.

 

This was just a quick overview….Stay tuned for a “He’s HOME-Part 2″ for more details of Tony’s first few days home.

 

Some of the Welcoming Committee

Our first embrace

Us with Lynsay

 

The boys at the bar

Us

Marines at the bar

Self portrait (Yes, us again…Making up for over 6 months apart!)

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