By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Broken Arrow Marines who spent almost a year in Iraq are back home.
Dozens of family and friends crowded the arrival area at Tulsa International Airport on Friday afternoon, waiting for their heroes.
They waived signs and flags waiting for 24 members of the 225th to get off the plane. And once they did, some literally ran into the arms of the ones they love.
Some Marines plopped right down on the floor to make up for lost time. Others couldn't stop staring into the little faces so much like thier own.
"Been waiting for this for a year," Broken Arrow Marine Jeff Statum said. "Well worth it, well worth it."
A year is a lot of holidays, anniversaries and birthdays to miss. And for a couple of Marines, this wasn't just a reunion, but a first meeting.
Amidst the signs, balloons and flags at Gate 59, Angela Ford is juggling a toddler and a newborn, while walking a tight-rope of nerves.
"I'm just ... I'm barely holding it together," she said.
She was coming unglued from the anticipation of her husband, Cpl. Kevin Ford.
"I'm glad it's over ... and he's home hopefully for good," Angela Ford said. "And I'm ready to get on with our lives."
Suddenly the minutes that refused to tick by rushed by in seconds gone too soon, from almost-husbands to new dads.
Kevin Ford, who saw his son born through a web camera while he was still in Iraq, finally gets to holds him in his arms for the first time.
Angela Ford couldn't stop crying, smiling, or kissing her husband. The family splintered for almost a year is finally whole again.
"Aw, this is the best I've felt in a long time," Kevin Ford said. "I feel great!"
Flanked by loved ones, the Marines are able to set aside the heavy burden of service and pick up where they left off.