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The Return

It was a great weekend. Brendan and his fellow 101st Screaming Eagles arrived more or less on time at Fort Campbell north of Clarksville, Tennessee. Going down it rained almost all the time until I got into Clarksville, and then it stopped. The roadside carnage of deer was unpleasant but slowed me down. I even saw two bucks fighting, antlers intertwined in the median! Can't imagine their having made it to safety when the scuffle ended.
And all the while thinking that this would be my last time down there. In the past 3 1/2 years we made perhaps a dozen trips to see Brendan and/or the kids. It holds special memories and this trip was no exception. Mackenzie was not able to join us because of work, but Brendan's wonderful friend, Karen, flew in from England for the occasion.
The Welcome Home ceremony went without a hitch but Nancy and I were ready for the emotional tugs the Army throws in for families. Still, it was an overwhelming experience and he looked like and acted like our Brendan. Funny, profane, thoughtful, and defender of the weak. Instead of the Screaming Eagles, he referred to them as "Squealing Chickens". Instead of defaming the Iraqis, he liked them and made friends with a couple. Instead of playing it safe and staying out of harms way the final weeks of "lame-duck" occupation, he volunteers for gunrunning convoy duty. Instead of flaunting battle scars, he says nothing, but we find three pictures of various wounds when things like shrapnel rattled around inside the hum-vees.
He has decided enough is enough and wants to try civilian life. This will happen mid to late February and till then he will be de-briefing, joining me for Thanksgiving and then heading to Florida for a few weeks.
We gave the Army a young, brash, headstrong, boy, and in return we have a young, brash, headstrong man. The difference is amazing. Welcome Home son, and thanks.

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