Home at last, and in awe

Published 6:42 pm Saturday, March 16, 2013

By SFC Ed Holland

As I sit here and I think of all that has been accomplished, I am in awe of it all. I have finally made it home.

Home is a place where you can relax and let your hair down and try to return to some sort of normalcy in your life. But as a soldier, home brings a different meaning. What new things are you walking in on?

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I left Afghanistan and flew to Ramstein AFB in Germany and flew out of Frankfurt the next day. When I finally arrived in Nashville, I realized that my driver’s license was expired. No worries. Shonya picked me up from the airport, and immediately the love was there.

Throughout my travels, individuals saw me and immediately knew I was in the Army. I received all types of responses: “Thanks for your service.” “I’m glad you are home.” It was refreshing to know we are supported through these difficult times.

As I walked through Charlotte International Airport, it really hit me. I was on U.S. soil! Wow! I have felt this numerous times before, but this time was different. This was number six for me. I often wondered how many times I could roll the dice and not crap out. When is my time up?

I made the one call that was long overdue. To my mommy. When she answered, the conversation was great. As usual, I said, “Hey girl.” She immediately recognized my voice, and her tone reflected utter relief. “Hey son!” she yelled. I told her I was back on U.S. soil, and she was so happy.

She is doing better now, but I still worry about my mommy. I love you sweetheart!

We have a new tenant at home, a little dog named Tia, a white and brown Pomeranian. She is a ball of fire. As I sit on the couch and reflect on all that has occurred, I am thankful that I have been able to see another day and another deployment to the end.

Shonya has all things in order, no stone left unturned. I am thankful for her.

To all my friends and battle buddies: Gentleman and ladies, we did it. We brought everyone home. We fought and made a difference to all. Now we have to get reacquainted with our families and kids. That is the great part. We get to become fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives again.

It is a difficult transition, going from warfighter to spouse, but it is one we readily accept. We have accepted many challenges. But this is one comes with little or no resistance. We have fought for the love of our family. Now it is time to show that love.

As usual, I have to pay homage to my hometown, Suffolk, the best city a young man could be in. Thanks for all the prayers, comments and well wishes. I look forward to just walking down the street and appreciating all the wonderful things and sights you have.

My son just got accepted to Livingstone College. Man, I am a really proud Dad right now. You have done a great job son. And I know Kishera will follow in your footsteps. I love you guys to the moon!

And finally, to my favorite girl, Mommy: Your baby boy has made it through another deployment. I have fought the Taliban once, al-Qaida five times, and I am still here. You always said I was Tonka tough. I love you and thank you for all your support and love. You are the driving force behind what I do. I have to make it safe for you and my children.

If you see a soldier, hug them, shake their hand and tell them you are thankful for what they do, putting their lives on the line so we can all enjoy the freedoms of the greatest nation and people in the world.

God Bless the U.S.A.

Bandit27N signing off. Mission complete. Rakkasan, Air Assault!

Sgt. First Class Ed Holland, a 1989 graduate of Suffolk High School, has been in the U.S. Army for 18 years. He has returned from his sixth deployment, including five to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. Email him at Bandit27N@yahoo.com.