Army Spec. Daniel Eggleston, on leave from military service, wasn’t expecting the welcome party he was given Friday night at Dayton International Airport.
His mom, dad, sisters, nephew, friends from his days at Urbana High School and acquaintances waved American flags, sang and clapped as Eggleston walked toward them after exiting airport security.
It had been a year to the day since he’d been home, and he was more than pleasantly surprised by the arrangements that had been made in his honor.
“I didn’t expect this at all. It’s good to be home. It’s been a long year,” Eggleston said, standing with his dad, Dan, and his mom, Cathy Cooper.
His parents were relieved at the sight of their son, a decorated member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Chosen Company, a U.S. Army Europe organization headquartered in Vicenza, Italy.
“We prayed a lot,” the father said of the son who has won two combat medals — one for combat with valor. “We’re proud of all the other soldiers over there.”
Mother said her son has lived in Urbana since he was 5 and is a graduate of Urbana High School.
“We’re so super exited. We can’t stand it,” said the matriarch who coordinated the welcome home that included special T-shirts worn by the soldier’s parents, three sisters and his nephew, who the family says is the soldier’s best friend.
There will be a party on Saturday to continue the homecoming, his parents said.
What’s the first thing the soldier said wanted to do, now that he’s home for a spell after a 20 hours of flying from Italy to Germany to Chicago, then Dayton?
“Hang out with that little guy,” he said, pointing to his nephew.
What is the soldier most immediately looking forward to?
“Sleeping in America,” he said.