"FUCK YOU IRAQ"
I thought about staying in Ireland. I really wanted to see Europe. We hit U.S. soil on October 13 (I think). Bangor, Maine was our first stop. We were greeted by Veterans of the American Legion. They all lined up with those hats on that said “WWII Veteran” and “Freedom isn’t Free” and shook our hands. That freaked me out a little. Some of the guys reminded me of my dad and I started crying. They provided us with cell phones. We called everyone we knew to tell them we were finally home. Our last stop was McGuire Air Force base, which is right next to Ft. Dix, NJ.
When we landed at Ft. Dix we loaded onto buses and were brought to a church where they had a welcome home ceremony. News stations were there, family members, and real food. It felt so weird to be back in States. For the first time in a long time we felt like we could relax. After was spent four days out processing, it was time to go back to our ”normal” lives and say goodbye. We had to leave everyone that we grew and experienced crazy shit with. Spending a year with the same people and getting use to living in that environment, you don’t realize how much you change or adapt to situations until you don’t have those people around anymore.
I remember one night we all went to the "club" on Ft. Dix...the whole unit...at the end of the night the DJ played, "New York New York" by Frank Sinatra and dedicated it to our unit. Everyone was in a line with their arms around eachother, singing their hearts out. We were so excited to go back to New York.
By the time I had finished writing for the Anaconda Times, I had been published in four countries, in a several newspapers and on several websites.