MIAMI (CBS4) – Dozens of families in Hollywood and Miami waited Tuesday night to see their loved ones come home from the battlefield.
“As soon as he arrives I am going to hug him and tell him I’m happy about it.” said Manny Mayorga. His brother Oscar Ramos has been in Iraq with the 53rd Infantry Brigade securing the draw down of US forces. Mayorga told us “It was up to a point where we were not sure he was going to make it back. Now we are sure he is going to make it back.”
Back indeed, as the bus arrived from Fort Stewart Sharon Alistair couldn’t contain herself. She hadn’t seen her son in 7 months. As she walked quickly toward the bus she felt “really good really good, real excited. Real excited.” CBS4’s David Sutta asked “What are you going to say to him?” She responded “Welcome home and I say thank you Lord.”
As 15 soldiers stepped off the bus Sharon grabbed her son and didn’t let go. The same went for Oscar Ramos’ family. Ramos later told us “It’s been a long journey. I’ve been waiting for a long time for my family and friends. I’m really excited to spend the holidays with them.”
There is more to this reunion though. Ramos explained as he looked towards his brother. “He’s always been my role model. Growing up I always looked up to him. And now I get the opportunity for him to look up to me.” Yes, you could say they left as boys but they came back as men. Specialist Alistair Salesman agreed. ”Being gone for a year it’s been a life changing experience. And now that I’m able to come home to family and friends, it feels a little more important than any regular Christmas would”
Wednesday they are expecting another bus with more than 100 soldiers on board. It’s probably the best news you could expect this holiday season and in addition to the fact there are no plans to redeploy this unit anytime soon.