U.S. National Guard Soldiers Return To Pine City, “Bulldogs” Welcomed Home
On Sunday, family members and friends of local soldiers lined the streets of Pine City for a welcome home celebration of the best kind. It had been nearly 11 months since the Bulldogs were deployed.
Jessica Paulson of the Pine City Chapter of the Yellow Ribbon Community was filled with emotion as she explained what was happening.
“Today the soldiers from B-Troop, First 94th Cav are comin’ home!” Paulson was clearly excited as the moment of the soldiers return from Kuwait was drawing near. “It’s a big relief to know that everybody’s safe,” Paulson said.
The Yellow Ribbon Community, the Blue Star Moms and the Patriot Guard Riders were among those organizations in attendance to honor the 26 military members that were dropped off in Pine City, one of many drop Zones in the state where troops were reunited with their families on Sunday. Scores of local residents also came out to show their support.
Although it was 52 degrees and rainy, nothing could squelch the excitement level in the family members waiting as the procession – led by squad cars, motorcycles, and followed up by firetrucks – roared by.
One of those Patriot Guard Riders, Brent Jahnz, shared with us the significance of a day like this. “We like to come out and show our respect,” he said. Jahnz wanted the returning soldiers to know his appreciation.
“Welcome home and thank you for your service, we anxiously await their arrival.” Jahnz said as he stood by the road with a large flag. Jahnz explained that stands the Patriot Guard line in remembrance of his uncle who was shot in Vietnam years ago. “It’s kinda personal,” he said. “I have a deep regard for their service.”
Although there was no formal ceremony in the parking lot of the E-Free Church near the armory, none was necessary. The hugs, kisses and tears exchanged between these soldiers and their family members was what mattered most. It was 52 degrees and raining, but the warmth of the hugs and the smiles on the faces of those in attendance showed that a tremendous weight had been lifted.
Mayor Jayne Robbins was one of the many local residents who came out to cheer and hold American flags as the soldiers’ bus passed by. Mayor Robbins was very happy to see these troops back at home.
“We’re just really, really proud of our troops that returned today from Kuwait,” Robbins said. “We want to say ‘welcome home’ to each and every one of them.”