Emotional Reunion for Returning Troops

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

Three buses full of soldiers met hundreds of impatient family members in the parking lot of DeWitt High School.

"Once we pulled off the highway, it was hard for people to sit still," said Rhonda Owsley, a soldier of the Michigan Army National Guard.

"As we got closer the bus went slower---that's how it felt," said Diane Ross, another soldier of the 46th Military Police Command.

After a 12-month tour in Afghanistan, more than one hundred National Guard soldiers arrived in DeWitt, anxious to finally reunite with their families.

"He was screaming and jumped into my arms. It was amazing," said Ross about her son she was holding in her arms. "She was crying then too," said her young son, Curtis.

Some soldiers say they were more nervous stepping off the bus then when they departed overseas.

"I wasn't sure how I'd be received, or if they missed me. But they do remember me and they did miss me," said Owsley.

The hundreds of receiving family members say the homecoming brought a new importance to Mother's Day.

"I have everything I could want. My husband is home," said Carol Rehkopf.

"It's relief. That's the only way to describe it. It is relief to be a family again," said Dave Owsley, about his wife's return.

The 46th Military Police Command was already heading home when they learned of Osama Bin Laden's fate.

"It's exciting news and brings some closure," said Arthur Rehkopf, a Michigan National Guard soldier.

"It's a relief, but we know there will be someone else to take his place," said Ross.

The service men and women say they will continue to fight until they are no longer needed; but right now, their mission is to spend the holiday with their families.

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