It's been more than a year since the members of the Missouri Army National Guard 1140th Engineer Battalion left behind their families and headed to Iraq.
And by Tuesday, this 500-member force should be back in Southeast Missouri.
Even with the necessity for security for the group's return, family members in Southeast Missouri, from Farmington to Sikeston, plan to be ready for the homecoming.
Members of the Headquarters Family Readiness Group, which helps family members cope while their loved ones are deployed, plans to line the route from Interstate 55 to the armory in Cape Girardeau with 100 ribbons, flags and banners.
Gordonville will also be lined with ribbons in honor of a native son. In Perryville, the troops will get a police and fire truck escort into town.
Regardless of the homecoming details, the communities of Farmington, Perryville, Jackson, Cape Girardeau and Sikeston will make their best effort to welcome these dedicated and deserving soldiers back home.
The 1140th has spent a year enduring hardships few of us understand. Thankfully, its soldiers suffered no injuries in that time. They are a group of men and women who deserve our thanks and appreciation for a job well done.