I want to join with everyone in welcoming the 1140th back home to their families and friends. Watching the television and seeing the tears of joy in the faces of both the soldiers and their loved ones was a joy to see. And seeing the events planned around their homecoming had to make the returning soldiers feel welcomed and appreciated. Their being gone for a year not only had to be difficult for them, but the stress and worry that it caused their loved ones can't be overlooked. A big thank you goes out to all of the 114th, and welcome home.
That being said, we can't forget the many who are not home yet. Many of our local men and women are still facing difficult situations daily on foreign soil. Not just Iraq, but all around the world and I know what the families of those serving abroad are going through here at home - the sleepless nights, the daily worry and the constant thought of a loved one in danger is always on the family members' minds.
My wife and I have a son in Iraq, recently being deployed for his second tour of duty there. Others in the surrounding area also have sons or daughters, nieces, grandchildren and even fathers and mothers serving our country and in constant danger. These brave men and women are not there because they want to be. They serve because they know it's their duty to serve and they go where they are ordered to go.
Fortunately, I have almost daily contact with my son in Iraq, thanks to the world of computers. He is always trying to reassure me that things are OK, but it's hard not to hear the news or read the newspapers and see the violence that surrounds him and his comrades. Rarely do I get to visit with him on the computer that my eyes don't fill with tears, because I know the anger he is facing daily. I see the worry in the eyes of my wife constantly. Regardless of how hard you try to ease the worry, nothing seems to work.
Our son is always telling us to remember the other guys, too. Not only do they look out for themselves over there, but they are always looking out for their friends because those friends are their family now.
So, welcome back 1140th, and I'm sure that you will join those of us who still have loved ones over there in remembering them and wishing them well in the months and years ahead - not only those in the surrounding area and state of Missouri, but also those serving from around this great country of ours. I'm sure the 1140th can tell you how it is over there and what our brave men and women are facing daily.
To my son, SSgt. Kevin Hornback, your family loves you and is so very proud of you and miss you. We are looking forward to your safe return to the states.