This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis

"Mommy" Kelly Gibbs questioned as she concentrated coloring on the paper she had been given.

Shannon looked up from her own artwork, "Yes, baby?"

Kelly studied the paper for a moment, "Is daddy coming home?" Her blue eyes lit up at the thought.

"No, baby not this time." Shannon's heart fell as her daughter's eyes glazed over with sadness.

"Are we coloring for the soldiers mommy?" Kelly exchanged her red crayon for a blue one.

Shannon smiled at her daughter, "Yes we are. You remember how I told you that some soldiers come home, and their families are not able to be there to greet them?"

Kelly nodded her head, "Yep, and we're gonna be there to welcome them home. I like it." She held up her card, "Is this good mommy?"

Shannon looked at the four-year old's drawing of an American Flag. "That's perfect Kelly." Shannon finished her picture, "You almost finished Kel?"

"Almost mommy. Can you help me write Semper Fi?" Kelly placed her crayon down and picked up a different color.

"Sure" Shannon got up from her seat and walked over to her daughter. "Ready?" Kelly shook her head yes, and she let her mom guide her, "S-e-m-p-e-r F-i".

Kelly's eyes lit up as she finished, "Done. Can we go now?"


Shannon held Kelly's hand so she wouldn't get lost in the crowd as the soldiers went to greet their families. Kelly spotted a soldier standing off to the side, whose shoulder was in a sling "Mommy." Kelly tugged on Shannon's hand. Shannon turned to see the soldier just as he was turning around to leave. Shannon nodded, and released Kelly's hand. She smiled as Kelly ran up to the soldier, and stuck out her hand, and a homemade card.

Kelly walked straight up to him and stuck out her hand, "Hi, I'm Kelly." She handed one of the construction paper cards out to him. She grinned as her Mom stepped up behind her.

The soldier looked at her for a moment and then shook her hand with his uninjured one, "Gunnery Sergeant Jamison." He took the paper card she handed him, and smiled at the colored picture on the front. He opened it up to see the big thank you written on the inside.

Shannon addressed him, "My name is Shannon Gibbs, and this is my daughter. We would like to welcome you home Gunnery Sergeant Jamison, and thank you for your service."

"Thank you, Ma'am." The Marine's eyes glossed over with unshed tears. He bent down to Kelly's level and wrapped her in a small hug, "This is a pretty picture. Did you color it?

Kelly nodded and smiled, "Yes, sir. I colored the American Flag just as my daddy taught me."

"Your daddy a Marine?" Sgt. Jamison questioned.

"Yep, he's a Gunny too." Kelly announced proudly.

Shannon look at Gunnery Sgt Jamison, "He is Gunnery Sgt. Jethro Gibbs."

The soldier's eyes lit up, "He was the soldier that helped rescue me from the line of fire when I was hit. I never got the chance to thank him. Is he here today?"

Shannon shook her head, "He has another month left of his tour. I do hope you have recovered well."

The marine nodded, "Yes Ma'am I'm doing good. Please, tell your husband thank you from me. Also, I really want to thank you and your daughter for being here. It means a lot to each of us whose families are not able to make it to welcome us home. Thank you, so much."

Shannon shook the proffered hand, "You're very welcome. I promise to send him your thanks." She noticed that a bus had pulled up to take people to the airport and bus stations, "I know you must need to be going."

He nodded, "Yes Ma'am. Thank you again." He started to walk off after placing his card in his breast pocket.

"Semper Fi" Kelly smiled at the soldier and waved.

He turned back around, "Semper Fi, Kelly."

Thank you to all of the brave men and women who fight and have fought for our freedom!

Semper Fi

A/N I got this idea from an episode of Army Wives where Denise goes to welcome home soldiers from her son's unit even after he was killed in the line of fire. This was originally meant for Memorial Day, but I never got it finished until now. lol Thanks. If you find any quotes or phrases you like, please send them to me! :) Thanks