Jenna Wallin, two, and Rikki Gramling, one, are the granddaughters of Rick and Lesa Gramling of Stanford and Julia Smith of Sidney.
Jenna is the daughter of Jennifer Gramling of Stanford and Michael Wallin Jr. of Walnut Ridge. She is also the granddaughter of Michael "Button" Wallin of Walnut Ridge, Tommi Wallin of Branson, Mo., and Durene Richmond of Lynn.
Rikki is the daughter of Miranda Gramling of Stanford and Zeb Blansett of Pocahontas. She is also the granddaughter of Dee Blansett of Paragould.
Saturday morning I woke up early and got in my car to drive up to Highway 49 to greet the first buses returning with members of the 875th Engineer Battalion. They had approximated their arrival in Paragould at 7 a.m., so I left my house about 6:15 expecting to be in Goobertown before 6:30.
I had traveled about a half mile from my house when I heard them announce on the radio that the buses were headed north through Brookland and would be in Paragould in a matter of minutes. Realizing I did not have time to make it, I returned home and watched their arrival on TV.
Every image brought tears to my eyes, as did each of the banners as I drove along Highway 49 from Jonesboro to Brookland the previous evening.