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Archive for Saturday, April 26, 2008

Soldier’s prayers come true

US Army Sgt. Joe Peel, right, of Tonganoxie, is greeted by his father, Eddy Peel, and other Patriot Guard Riders Friday during a stop in Lawrence. Peel returned to Kansas on Monday after serving a tour in Iraq. The Patriot Guard surprised him Friday with a motorcycle escort from Lawrence to Tonganoxie.

US Army Sgt. Joe Peel, right, of Tonganoxie, is greeted by his father, Eddy Peel, and other Patriot Guard Riders Friday during a stop in Lawrence. Peel returned to Kansas on Monday after serving a tour in Iraq. The Patriot Guard surprised him Friday with a motorcycle escort from Lawrence to Tonganoxie.

April 26, 2008

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Tonganoxie soldier returns from Iraq

The VFW post in Tonganoxie was the site for a local soldier's homecoming -- one that was heartfelt and sincere. Enlarge video

— For months, the biggest visual representation that Joe Peel's children had of their father was a three-foot cardboard cutout they called "flat dad."

And in the same amount of time, whenever the Army sergeant wanted a hug from his kids while stationed in Iraq, he could only put on the white T-shirt they sent him with their handprints and a message on the back that read "I love you daddy."

But on Friday, Peel's family was finally able to put flat dad away and Peel was able to hold his children for real.

"I prayed every night to be back," he said in a quivering voice as he tried to keep from crying. "That's all I asked for is to be back with my family."

About 5 p.m. Friday, members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group that honors current and fallen soldiers, escorted Peel, his wife, Leanne, their son, J.D., and two daughters, Haleigh and Torrie Evans, from Lawrence to the Tonganoxie Veterans of Foreign Wars building, where there would be a special welcome home party. The party was also for Spc. Phillip Jeffery and Staff Sgt. Todd Meckley, who traveled with Peel.

Peel knew about the party, but he said he wasn't expecting to see the more than 22 motorcycles waiting for him or to get the police escort when they got into town.

Leanne was at a loss for words to describe how she was feeling now that her husband was back home.

The kids were also excited. When asked which one they liked better, flat dad or real dad, the kids clung to Peel while pointing at him.

"It's the best thing that's happened to me in a long time," said Eddy Peel, Joe Peel's father. "To get him back with all of his parts is really good."

Although he is finally at home, some of his thoughts are still with the thousands of men and women in Iraq who aren't able to be with their families.

"It bothers me every day. I pray for them every day," Peel said. "You may argue some of your points and you may have some difference here and there, but it's still our country and we have to defend it. I will back every soldier that is there now, that goes, that's been there, until the day I die."

In August, Peel was able to come home for 18 days after a six-month stay in Iraq before having to leave for another nine-month tour.

Comments

screedposter 5 years, 11 months ago

"Patriots are citizens who come to the aid of their country when attacked by a foreign country."I guess that makes the Sheiks of Al-Anbar the greatest patriots in Iraq, after booting out al-qaeda.What do you call someone who comes to the aid of the citizens of a country that is not theirs, but an important regional ally? What do you call someone who goes overseas to fight for strangers? What do you call someone who goes and risks his life, leaves his family behind, and fights for strangers?Thank you, Sgt. Peel. You and thousands like you may not be merrill's friends, but you are friends to the Iraqi people. Welcome home.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Patriots are citizens who come to the aid of their country when attacked by a foreign country. Unfortunately USA soldiers are being abused by BUSHCO for their self interests aka oil control. Support the Troops! Bring Them Home Alive To their families!!!The terrorists are not the Iraq people and certainly not USA soldiers. The terrorists are in the White House stealing and abusing our tax dollars.

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TopJayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes, thank you for your service.. I can't imagine what you all have to go though. But I thank you.

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Lynn731 5 years, 11 months ago

We are proud of your service, happy you are home with your family, and thank you so much for protecting the USA! Best wishes. Thank you, Lynn

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notajayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

merrill's posting bot must not have been triggered by any key words in this story, or we'd already have one of his cut-and-paste posts that's already appeared on a hundred threads regarding the war.

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i_tching 5 years, 11 months ago

Glad you made it back, soldier.It's very likely that the Iraqis killing our servicepeople see themselves as patriotic and loyal to their own country. There's nothing wrong with ackowledging that. And the only reason they are killing our troops is because our troops are there and not here; home, where they belong.

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 11 months ago

one ljworld poster, "Merrill" [richard heckler] has posted that the terrorists in iraq who blow up our soldiers are "patriots*! no, I am not making this up. search back a ways in his posting history. he is a despicable subhuman and should be driven from good society. he applauds terrorists who blow up our soldiers like sgt. peel. shame on him! he posts regularly on this board, daily.

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bearded_gnome 5 years, 11 months ago

patriot guard rocks!I am delighted to read how this hero was welcomed by his hometown! God bless you sgt. Peel and your family. your wife and kids sacrifice for this country too. you go were I can't. you face dangers I can't. you choose every day to defend this country, me included. you exemplify bravery and virtue. we are grateful, I am grateful. thanks. ***"It bothers me every day. I pray for them every day," Peel said. "You may argue some of your points and you may have some difference here and there, butit's still our country and we have to defend it. I will back every soldier that is there now, that goes, that's been there, until the day I die."right on!

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notajayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Welcome home to all three, thank God you all made it safely. And it doesn't seem like nearly enough, but thank you for your service.

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BalkansHawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Glad you made it home SGT Peel, SPC Jeffery and SSG Todd. You should be very proud of your service to our country. I also would like to thank all of the men and women of the Partriot Guard. Your participation and support at our departure ceremony last year was amazing. You are all heroes in my eyes.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 11 months ago

Welcome home Sgt. Peel. Thankyou for your time and service.

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