MOLINE, Illinois -- As the Army National Guard's Connor Scheidler steps off his connecting flight from Chicago, there are tears and touching moments with his parents.
"I was really happy to see them waiting for me," he said, on Thursday, December 21.
"It's going to be nice," added his mom, Kelly. "That's for sure."
Also nice to see volunteers holding large American flags along the walkway. Patriot Guard members are offering special greetings each day at the airport.
"Enjoy your time home," said volunteer Chris Shaw, Davenport.
"I will," responded Zack Hubbard, a Galesburg-area Marine on leave from North Carolina.
Through a crowded airport corridor, Hubbard is happy to get the greeting.
"Whenever you come home, it's pretty nice to see that," he said.
It's so nice that the volunteers return each year to welcome home the troops.
"It's a simple little thing we can do," said Garey Chrones, a Gulf War veteran from DeWitt, Iowa. "Just to stand there, hold a flag, reach out a hand and say, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and thank you."
For the Scheidlers, the drive back to the Muscatine area will begin a holiday reunion.
"That is the best part," said his dad, Mike. "Just having him home for Christmas and New Year's and spending time with each other."
"We haven't really seen him since August," added Kelly. "So to have him home for more than a few hours is going to be awesome."
For the soldiers arriving home, their wishes are simple.
"Sleep and eat some good food," said Hubbard.
"It's kind of a surreal experience," concluded Scheidler. "Just to be home for the holidays, it's really nice."
These military families couldn't agree more.