EVANS CITY (KDKA) — Delta Flight 1295 from Atlanta landed at 10:42 a.m. Friday on time.
Lance Cpl. Andrew McGlennen, 20, of Evans City, was returning from his first tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“It’s good to be back, great to see family. Can’t wait to get to my house,” he said.
His mom, Cindy, got her arms around her son for the first time since last summer. For his dad, David, there were few words for how he felt.
“I’ve heard the phrase bursting with pride, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt it until today,” David said.
There were also hugs and kisses from Andrew’s two sisters and two brothers.
His job in Afghanistan was security at Camp Leatherneck in the Helmand Province. On his right arm, a sobering new tattoo he chose when joining the Marine Corps.
“Psalm 23:04: Its, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For the Lord my God is with me.’”
Andrew has much to remember this Memorial Day, says his mom.
“We especially think of his buddies who were lost,” said Cindy. “He lost one very close buddy and we know this is for them, too.”
For the young Marine, a fit homecoming for one of the brave. There was a military motorcycle escort by the Butler County American Legion Riders.
Brad Orton escorted his own soldier son home last week.
“Just to have the people come out and total strangers welcome these guys home, it’s unbelievable,” said Orton.
Flags flying and growling engines.
In Cranberry Township, the volunteer fire company’s ladder truck flew a huge Stars and Stripes, with firefighters lifting a smart salute.
Police officers lined the route to stop traffic, and families stood by the roadside with signs and welcoming waves.
This native son has come a long way for a home-cooked meal and a good night’s sleep. In Evans City, you could feel the beating heart of small-town America.
“It was great,” Andrew said. “I saw lots of people I hadn’t seen in a long time, just lining the streets. It was great.”
For those who serve this country, this is what it’s all about.