HARTFORD -- On the day the country marked the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, some Wisconsin soldiers came home. A group of Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers returned from Afghanistan, and a welcome home ceremony was held in their honor Tuesday evening.
35 Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers were welcomed home from Afghanistan in Hartford Tuesday evening. They're part of the 82nd Agricultural Development Team.
The soldiers thought they would gone for at least a year, but that turned into seven months.
Those who wished to greet the soldiers showed up early Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of the troops' arrival. One West Allis woman was especially excited for her niece's return home.
"I've never been through this before -- any type of homecoming like this, so I can't even imagine how exciting it's gonna be. Sometimes you see pictures at the airport -- people coming and they're all waving. I just can't imagine. I'm so excited! the woman said.
American flags flew high in Hartford as the bus pulled up at the VFW.
Kim Flock returned from the mission serving as a medic, and never thought she'd return on the 11th anniversary of the nation's terrorist attacks.
"It's the whole reason why we deployed and why we started all of this to begin with and to be a part of. It is overwhelming," Flock said.
Ryan McCullough enlisted in the Army National Guard the day after 9/11, while he was a freshman at Marquette University.
"It was obviously something that brought Americans together and it was something I felt that I needed to do," McCullough said.
McCullough waited nearly 10 years to deploy and volunteered as security detail in Kabul after years of serving as an international businessman.
"It's obviously an honor to serve in the state of Wisconsin in the National Guard. I'm just happy to have been able to do it. It was a volunteer mission so I served with some of the best soldiers that the state has to offer," McCullough said.
McCullough already has two degrees from Marquette University and plans to attend law school in the fall.