I am grateful for what I witnessed yesterday! My good friend Laurin's son came home from his mission last night. We all came together to meet at the airport to welcome him home. There were family members, friends of the family, and almost our entire branch. Boy were the TSA agents happy!! Anyway, as the plane landed we all stood up as a large group holding signs, and posters. We all notice another family with their own poster, which said "Welcome Home Captain ......., We Love You". One person asked the family who they were expecting, and they said their loved one from Iraq. So we decided that our group would cheer for that soldier when he came through the door too.
Two flights came in around the same time. The first flight was carrying the soldier. It was such a great moment, he came through the door full fatigues and pack. Very surprised to see all the people, the whole airport broke out in applause. His wife ran to him and it was such a great moment. I looked around, and thankfully, standing next to me was my friend Dest who too was tearful over this moment. As soon as the applause quieted we all yelled out "THANK YOU!!". Such a great Goose-bump moment.
Then the second flight arrived, all of our hearts were pounding. Especially for our dear friend Laurin as she has literally counted down the days. We all held our breath with each person that step out, thinking it might be our return missionary. A lot of the people getting off the plane smiled at the posters that said "Welcome Home Elder Howell". A pilot from one of the planes knew what the word "Elder" meant, and quickly asked where the mom was. He talked with Laurin for a little bit.
On a side note, no matter where you go in the world, LDS church members are all alike with our similar back grounds, love of the gospel, and support for each other, even if you've never met. Love it! After some time, that much anticipated Missionary came through the door. His mom and sisters just went running, and showered him with love, while we all cheered and applauded. Again, it was a great moment!
I am so grateful to have experienced these two young men return home , one from protecting our country, and the other spreading the gospel. They volunteered to leave their family for long periods of time, protect and changed the lives (for the better) of people whom they'd never thought they'd meet, they both fought for good against evil, and were watched over closely by our Heavenly Father. I feel comforted knowing there are young men like these protecting our world both physically and spiritually.