It was a celebration fit for a soldier, full of music and good food.
First Lieutenant Gary Kinsey says, "Coming home to crawfish, it is just good southern cooking and that is what we are ready to eat."
Michael Martin says, "You never expect anybody to go through trouble to appreciate you."
But, after fighting in a Iraq, and helping with relief efforts in the days after Katrina, the citizens of Gautier thought it was fitting to honor the Mississippi National Guard.
Congressman Gene Taylor says, "Everyone is a volunteer; they are the true citizens soldiers."
Councilman Hurely Guillotte says of the soldiers, "We are proud of them and proud of their families for sticking with them."
Kinsey has been with the National Guard for ten years and served on foreign soil. He says coming home to such a warm welcome makes his job worth while.
"It makes me proud to know that I did serve and come back to a great community like this," Kinsey says.
Organizers say they also want to honor the fallen soldiers who died during Operation Iraqi Freedom. They say it is important not to forget the men and women who died serving our country.
Congressman Taylor says, "What greater gift can give to their fellow citizens than the to first give up a year of their life in a place like that and many of them never came home."
While the celebration is only day, these solders say they will remember the enormous amount of love they received from the city of Gautier.
Michael Martin says, "I appreciate them going through the trouble to do that for us."
Kinsey says, "It is all a soldier can ask for to come home to something like this."