48 Jackson County Guardsmen Return Home From Iraq

"We didn't even sleep at all last night," Sandra Moody, the wife of a returning soldier said.

Sandra Moody and her family spent their day camped out in front the National Guard Armory in Pascagoula waiting for the return of Sandra's husband, Buddy Moody. She's been excited about his homecoming and getting to see him for the first time in a year.

"I'm going to kiss him of course," Moody said, when asked what she was going to do when he stepped off of the bus.

And after nearly five of hours of waiting, Sandra's husband finally received that kiss welcoming him back home.

Two-year-old Libby Parker also couldn't wait to cheer when her uncle stepped off the bus.

"There he is!" screamed her mom as their war hero stepped off the bus.

"We're just blessed that he has made it home safe," Alvin Parker, Libby's dad said.

Other newly reunited families also had a hard time containing their excitment as they welcomed their loved ones back home. "

Very excited and glad to be home," Gill Arrington, a soldier said, as he kissed his son on the cheek.

Gill Arrington left his son Parker a year ago, when Parker was still a baby. But Parker still had a lot to say when he saw his dad today.

"I missed you daddy," Parker said. "And I love you," he added.

Tears continued to flow as the soldiers were thanked for their hard work and bravery during a ceremony just minutes after their arrival.

But along with the tears of joy, there were tears of sadness, as the guardsmen rembered the life of one of their own, James Chance, who died during combat.

"The price of freedom is often paid through the ultimate sacrifice," an officer said to the crowd during the welcome ceremony.

But that kind of sacrifice didn't go unnoticed by the crowd who paid tribute to the 890th by joining together to say thanks and to join in singing "I'm Proud to be an American" and to shed more tears of happiness that their soldiers are finally home.