Christmas Eve airport arrival for QCA soldiers

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Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends.

That's especially true for military members, home for the holidays.

After the last six months spent in Pensacola, Florida, Navy Aircrew member James Bjorkman was happy to touch down at the airport Monday en route to Galesburg.   

"Very excited,” said Bjorkman. “I've seen my folks a couple times, but I haven't seen my family in about nine months now.”

He, like so many other military members, has big plans for the holiday.

"Just relaxing and having a good time with the family," he said.

There to greet him, right outside of the gate, were the Patriot Guard Riders.

It's wasn’t just Christmas Eve the group was there, but all week long.

They've been a show of support for all of our military men and women home for the holidays.

Nick Havemann, home from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan, got the same greeting Saturday.

While the Patriot Guard Riders aren't family per se, they may as well be.

"The enjoyment of watching the group come home when they see us with the flags and 'Welcome Home' is a treat to us,” said Pat Lue, who came out to show support with her husband. “It makes our Christmas."

When Lue sees young military men like Nick and James, she's reminded of her own son, who’s an army reserve.

"My son missed four Christmases in a row and it was really nice that fifth Christmas to have him home," said Lue.

It’s nice for the family members who've missed them and for the brave men and women themselves, who look forward to all that Christmas has to offer.