As the conflict in Iraq continues, American soldiers are called to serve in the Middle East, but some soldiers from Florida's Panhandle are coming home after completing their tour of duty.
Through the sweltering Florida heat, the patriots dawned their red, white and blue and anxiously lined the streets of Marianna, Florida Sunday afternoon. It's not the 4th of July just yet, but these folks will be celebrating soon none the less.
"We're here to support the 144th and welcome them home."
It was a hero's welcome. The Army's transportation company finally crept up the hill.
The soldiers are just returning from an assignment in Iraq.
"They were driving Humvees doing escort, so in particular we were really concerned about all the bombs that were planted. We were really, really worried about that," said Andrew Edel, the father of a Tallahassee soldier.
Family and friends of the 144th are all too aware of the dangers of these soldiers faced while serving in Iraq.
"He told me at one point that he had the heat of a bomb that was in the road. I'm just very thankful to God that he has returned home safely," said Julianna Edel, the mother of a Tallahassee soldier.
So of course, this is a day of celebration as our sons and daughters of the 144th Company make their way home to North Florida.
The Army 144th Company arrived first to Fort Bragg and then was transported to Marianna where they are stationed. The 144th is made up of soldiers from all around Florida's Panhandle.