LTC George Fisher
U.S. Army, National Guard
My entire time spent in the military culminated with a hero’s welcome in May 2006... And even though that is nearly a decade ago, to me it represents everything I ever trained and worked for, from a 14-year-old JROTC student until a middle-aged man in the twilight of my career some 34 years later.
At the end of our welcome home ceremony, my three kids, having been as patient as humanly possible, BOLTED from the throng of families and distinguished guests, as if they had been shot out of a cannon. (It is important to note that no one else in this entire huge crowd had budged.) In a flash I could see all three—eyes wide open, with grins on their faces as big as mine—running toward me… Joe, followed by Lyndsay, followed by Amanda. I attempted to wave them off but in that fraction of a second I had to decide what was more important—wave them off or prepare for the impending train wreck. Their combined weight exceeded mine by about a hundred pounds and had I not braced myself accordingly, I may have been a combat casualty right there on the Parade field.
I heard someone in the rank behind me say, “Here they come” and that’s when I got it full blast—WHUMP!...WHUMP!…WHUMP!…as each of those kids plowed into me—Joe having launched himself in the air a good eight feet prior.
I had my arms full of Fisher kids, and all we could do was cry.
Long story a tad longer… The photographers and news people saw my little heathens break ranks and followed suit, the end result which was having my defining moment of my entire military career captured in pictures, and our pictures on the front pages of several newspapers.
The family and I all drove home, where the neighbors had hung a “WELCOME HOME GEORGE” banner across the front porch and the front yard was festooned with 145 American Flags—my cup runneth over some more.
The next afternoon I was lying on my back deck in the hammock looking at the bluest sky I ever saw, contrasted by the wonderful green grass and trees of Middle Georgia. This was unreal. I must have died and went to heaven—but it wasn’t heaven, it was America—my little slice of it, and to me that was heaven...and if I only had one word to describe how it felt: Indescribable.
I glanced down at my watch and noticed I still had it set nine hours ahead—Iraqi time.
I pulled the stem out and reset my watch. In the background, I could hear my wife knocking around in the kitchen preparing supper. I felt my eyelids getting heavy and drifted off to sleep.
I was home.