(Note: this is chronologically out of order but I wanted to get it posted so I could thank Janae and Lisa and everyone else who put this welcome home together.)
A friend of mine from Camp Phoenix, a Navy Lieutenant Commander who is a school teacher in Sandy, Utah, returned home about 8 weeks ago. I was talking with her replacement and I was told that when she drove down her street, the ward had put flags in every yard lining her street, the neighbors were out waving and the Scouts were in uniform saluting her as she drove up. As I heard about this welcome home she received I was so impressed by the thoughtfulness of her neighbors. I thought it would be cool to have something similar happen but never imagined it would, mostly because our ward and Scouts don’t have the flags.
Well you can imagine my surprise when I turned down my street and saw flags lining the street. Every house had a flag in its yard and some had two. As I turned into our cul-de-sac, my house had 15 flags in front; lining the sidewalk, the driveway and across the front. There was a big banner on one of the fences that said “Welcome Home LTC Robert Church.”
I can’t even begin to describe the feelings and emotions that went through me. As I said I never expected anything like this so to have all those flags out was such a wonderful surprise. I felt incredibly honored. To see all those flags rustling in the morning breeze really choked me up. I thought of the past 15 months and the sacrifices I and my family have made. I thought of the freedom that those flags represented. I thought of all the men I had met and worked with in Afghanistan and the freedoms they were fighting to ensure for their families and country. I then thought of all the men and women that I had left behind who are carrying on the mission and I felt a tremendous sense of gratitude to them and the countless others who have served and who will continue to serve.
Janae told me about the flags. She said that she had wanted to get them up but was starting to feel overwhelmed with everything she wanted and needed to get done before I got home. She said that about a week before I got home, her friend, Lisa e-mailed her. She said that Lisa said that she felt like she wanted to do this for her, for me, for us and was e-mailing to ask Janae if it would be alright. Of course that was an answer to Janae’s prayer. So Lisa got permission from the neighboring ward to borrow their flags. She organized a work party to get them put up in time for my arrival back home. So to Lisa and everyone else who helped put them up, Thank you!! I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to see all those flags.
Janae had ordered the sign last fall. There was actually another one out on 1600 N. but I was too busy talking to see it when we drove past it.
So here are a bunch of pictures taken shortly after I got home. I didn’t have the neighbors lining the street since it was the middle of the day but I did have a bunch of neighbor children who were home and just getting home from school who came up to greet me. It was a lot of fun to see them and see just how much they had grown over the last 15 months. I must admit I could get used to the "hero worship" thing - kidding!!!