FLORENCE, Mass. - Each year millions of Americans gather with family and friends to celebrate the time honored tradition of Thanksgiving.
Eighty Massachusetts families have a little more to be thankful for this year, as their Service Members return to them after a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
Members of the 182nd Engineer Company (Sapper), Massachusetts National Guard, flew in to Hanscom Air Force Base from their demobilization site at Fort Bliss, Texas, Nov 22, 2012.
The 182nd Engineers performed route clearance to detect and neutralize suspected explosive hazards along a defined route in support of assured mobility for the maneuver element commander.
The Soldiers were met at the flight line by Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, who welcomed them home before they were bused to their armories in Newburyport and here, where they will be reunited with their loved ones.
Matthew Silvério, age 4, was eagerly awaiting his uncle, Spc. Luiz Ferraz.
"I'm excited to see my uncle," said Matthew. "It's making for a special Thanksgiving."
Mariana Ferraz, Matthew's mother, traveled with her son from Washington State to be here for the homecoming.
"We are very proud of him," said Marianna. "We wanted him to know that he has family here and that we love him."
Luiz, a Husky Mine Vehicle driver, was soon reunited with his family as the Soldiers of Detachment 1, 182nd Engineer Company (Sapper), marched into their armory here to welcoming cheers.
Thanksgiving is one of the most traveled American holidays and traditionally all about getting together with family. Travel and family is just what these retuning Soldiers got just in time for Thanksgiving with this holiday reunion.
"It's fitting to have these Soldiers home, especially today." said Brig. Gen. Gary Keefe, Assistant Adjutant General. "We're very happy to have them home for Thanksgiving."