Welcome Home!

Welcome Home!

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

Welcome Home!

The day had finally arrived and my husband, Andy, was due home from a tour-of-duty in Korea. A veteran of World War II, Andy was a captain with the Air Force and had been fighting in Korea for nearly a year and a half. The kids and I had really missed him.

Wanting to look our Sunday best upon Andy’s arrival, but not having the money to purchase new clothes from the department store for myself and our two young children, I scraped together enough material to make us clothes. I sewed a cute outfit for our daughter, Scharre, and a jacket and tie for our son, Bryan, and had just enough left to make myself a knee-length, white lace dress, just like a young bride’s gown. We looked spiffy!

At the airport, the three of us gathered with the other families waiting for husbands, fathers, brothers and friends. Excitement filled the large air-hanger as the plane landed! Our boys were finally home!

About two hundred troops deplaned and instantly went into formation at the commander’s orders of “attention!” The men looked weary, tired, bedraggled, but from what I could read on their faces, they were happy and relieved to be home. After a few moments in formation, the commander ordered them into an “at ease” stance.

Before the commander could issue another order, I worked my way through the crowd, with Scharre and Bryan in tow, and approached him.

“Excuse me, sir. I would like to address the men, please,” I told the commander. Before he could utter a word, I faced the troops.

“Welcome home! Welcome home! Welcome home!” I said in a loud voice, turning in a different direction with each “welcome” so all the men could hear me. “Don’t you look wonderful! We are so happy you have returned safe-and-sound! Thank you for your service to your country! Again, welcome home!”

I looked at the commander—his mouth agape in disbelief at my moxie—and thanked him. Taking the children’s hands, I rejoined the other families.

Still stunned, the commander squared himself and called his troops back to attention. After a very long second, he yelled “dismissed!” Not one of those two hundred men moved a single muscle—the entire hanger was silent and still, waiting to see which soldier would step forward to claim the lady in the white lace dress.

With his head held high, Andy made his way toward us through the frozen formation. Scharre and Bryan, recognizing their father, ran to meet him. Andy bent down and gave each of the children a big bear hug and kiss, then he proudly walked over to me. Again, the men and their families stood in complete silence.

Andy gave me a big kiss on the lips and everyone cheered! It was just like our wedding day with the guests waiting for that special closing smooch. At that instant, the troops fell out of formation, running to their families to do the same, with laughter and shouts of jubilation filling the air.

A handsome pilot had returned to his young bride. He was home, for good.

DeEtta Woffinden Anderson,
as told to Dahlynn McKowen

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