East Texas Soldier Home From Iraq - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/17/04-Smith County

East Texas Soldier Home From Iraq

It's been two years since 20-year-old John Howard left Tyler for the Army. Saturday family and friends were happy to have him back in East Texas.

Holley Howard has spent the past five months worrying about her oldest son. A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, much of what he does these days is out of her control, but there was one request she could handle.

"He said mom you know I want to come home and I want to get out of the car and I just want to be back walking down the driveway and it be real that I'm looking at my house and my home back at the lake, back where he grew up because I think there were days where he probably wondered whether he would ever see it again," she said.

It was a warm welcome at their home on Lake Tyler East. Dozens of family and friends showed up to greet the young soldier. For Eddie Howard, it's been a long time coming.

"It's so great to have him home and see him walk down the driveway it's just a thrill for his mother and I and his brother and and all the people that come to welcome him home," he said. "We're just glad to have him back and have him out of harms way."

For the younger Howard, pictures help to tell the story of the last five months, his words only re enforcing his commitment.

"I always wanted to go to war since I was a little kid, I've always been interested," he said. "When I joined up there was no other place I'd rather be, you're either all the way or your not going at all."

His parents both say their proud of that commitment.

"We're just thinking about how wonderful the day is, the weather turned out beautiful, to have him home... we're just so proud of him," Eddie Howard said. "Today, I'm going to enjoy today, enjoy this time with him and in my heart I know he's good to go now," Holley Howard said.

A family once separated by war now reunited by love. John Howard is on leave for three weeks from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Right now the military has not told him whether or not he will have to return to Iraq in the near future.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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