Big welcome home for Danville Marines

April 7, 2009 11:29:17 PM PDT
There was a hero's welcome in the East Bay on Tuesday night when four Danville Marines came back from Iraq and enjoyed a celebration in their honor.

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If the city of Danville ever needed a reason to come together as a community, they recently found one.

They gathered in front of the town hall for an official homecoming for four Danville Marines who served in Iraq.

"We're all very proud of our kids and we're proud of what they're doing for their country and what they're doing for us," said Earle Conklin, a Marine's father.

One by one, community groups awarded the four Marines with plaques, acknowledgments and tokens of appreciation.

"It's powerful that the community comes out because for so many times, nobody thanked our service people and nobody's here to do anything but say thanks," said Danville Mayor Newell Arnerick.

It was more than Lance Corporal Keith Hughes expected. In his 19 years, he's been through a lot. He survived Iraq, he lost a fellow Marine, and he's leaving for Afghanistan in November. However, seeing this many people for just one reason was overwhelming.

"It was powerful, I mean, being honored, I've never had that happen before. I was just doing my job and something so simple for me is so big for everyone else," said Lance Cpl. Hughes.

It's that tie that binds strangers, friends, and now, this city.

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