TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - The foyer of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport was packed with fathers, brothers, wives, daughters and total strangers, Friday morning. They were all eagerly waiting for their soldiers to come home.
Cheers and applause filled the terminal once Army Specialist Aaron Blair and Sgt. Nick Roberts emerged from the terminal.
"I got the same treatment in Dallas, and the same thing here," said Roberts. "It's just nice to see a lot of people come out and support us."
Roberts is from Big Sandy. He deployed to Iraq three months ago. He said he's ready for a little rest and relaxation and a couple Cowboys' games.
Jim Roberts, Sgt. Roberts's father, said Thanksgiving was put on hold for three days. Sgt. Roberts is one of three sons serving in the military.
Roberts said it's stressful, but he's thankful God had watched over his son.
Specialist Aaron Blair missed Thanksgiving by one day, but he said Black Friday is close enough. Blair served two tours in Afghanistan.
"The second time is easier than the first," said Jennifer Blair, his wife. They're both looking forward to his two weeks at home with his 2-year-old daughter, Justice.
There were plenty of hugs, handshakes, and hellos to go around. There were also goodbyes.
Dandi Holloway said Christmas came early this year for her son, Charles Collier, a specialist with the Texas National Guard. "We set him up with a laptop and a webcam so he can broadcast home and try to keep in touch," said Holloway.
Her son is deploying to Iraq for his first tour of duty.
Her hope: for his safe return.