Home From War: Thanksgiving Reflections

Northeast Alabama
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TENNESSEE VALLEY (WHNT) - During this long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, families are getting together to enjoy a meal. Some are enjoying just having their family home again. In fact, some of our neighbors are thankful this year their loved ones aren't just home, they're home from war.

There’s so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. In the past month or so, we’ve welcomed some of our friends, our family and neighbors home from war. Members of the 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion came home in three waves. After serving a long year in Afghanistan, they were given a hero’s welcome. And their loved ones were thankful to hear that one word… 'dismissed'. They could finally show the world just how thankful they were to have their soldier home. They did that with hugs, tears and kisses.

As Americans, we watch our sons, our daughters, our parents, our husband or wife, our grandchildren go off to war to fight for our freedom and the freedom of others in foreign lands. And sometimes they make incredible sacrifices.

Corey Garmon recently told a crowd that gathered to welcome him back, “It's good to be home, thank you for your support." The 24-year-old soldier is thankful to be alive. He lost both of his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan. After the holidays, he’ll return to Walter Reed Hospital for more rehab before coming home for Christmas. No one is more thankful to have Corey home than his Dad. Chris Garmon told us, "It's been a blessing, especially starting all the way in Huntsville and people coming out and supporting. I'm very proud of him. He's come a long way.”

So has Josh Wetzel, another Tennessee Valley hero who lost his legs but is home from war and enjoying time with his family and friends this thanksgiving. Speaking to a crowd that welcomed him back, Josh said, “I had much rather go through this than anybody out there. I just want you guys to know, you guys are my strength. You guys are my courage. And above all, God has brought me through this."

Those who serve don’t expect a hero’s welcome when they come home but it’s the least we can do to say thank you.  Lance Corporal Kendall Bane, 19, was shot in the stomach and leg. After three months in a hospital, the Marine has come home to fight perhaps his biggest battle, to continue to get better and walk again.

“When I was in Walter Reed, a guy that had been there for a while walked into my room and he was a quadruple amputee," said LCpl. Bane. "And he walked in on his prosthetics and two prosthetic arms and he told me he survived an IED blast that took all of his limbs. And I'm sitting there thinking, you know, if this guy can pull through and if the doctors are that good to piece him back together, they're good enough to fix me and I'm strong enough to pull through this.”

And on this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we’re thankful for the sacrifices so many have made for our country. But we should also remember there are men and women who are still putting themselves in harm’s way right now trying to make the world a better place for everyone.

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