This was the moment that so many of them had been waiting for.
??I??m Payton, and I??m just waiting for my dad,?? said an eager child.
And that moment finally happened Thursday night. The 1432nd Engineering Company had finally returned home.
"I??m so excited, I can't stand it,?? said mother, Cora Curtice. ??He's my baby!"
The over 85 Michigan Army National Guard soldiers were on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
??It??s a huge relief to know they're back home and they're safe,?? said sister-in-law, Stephanie Hutchens, ??and back on U.S. soil."
Now an entire community gathered together, not only to reconnect with loved ones, but to show their gratitude for their service.
"The whole community is involved in a deployment like this," added Congressman Dan Benishek, "because everybody knows somebody in the crowd."
When you mix community, family, and servicemen, you get a whole lot of pride, a whole lot of honor, and a whole lot of love.
And love was truly the faithful and undying force that, despite being miles and miles apart, is exactly what brought them back to those they love.