PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --It was an emotional homecoming Sunday for a group of soldiers with the Delaware Air National Guard and their families.
"I've been away from my family for about seven months now," said soldier Eugene Jackson. "It just feels good to be back with my family."
T-shirts, posters and tears of joy filled terminal D at the Philadelphia International Airport as families rushed into the arms of their heroes - husbands and fathers serving as soldiers who spent four months in Afghanistan.
To be exact, it was 125 days away from their families, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"I think he won't recognize me because it's been a few months since he's been away and I've gotten so tall," said Paul Stadelberge.
Paul was afraid his dad, a 10-year veteran Philadelphia police officer, wouldn't be able to spot him in the crowd so he made a special T-shirt.
"It says, 'Outta my way! I get my daddy back today!' " said Paul.
Paul's mother, Jennie, says it was her husband, Staff Sgt. Paul C. Stadelberger, first deployment since becoming a father, and she could not be more excited to have him back home.
"I appreciate him a lot more," said Jennie Stadelberer. "Just daily living is different. You don't realize how much they do until they're not there."
For some of the soldiers it was their third or fourth deployment, and family members tell us you think it gets easier, but it doesn't.
"It's my third time going through it so I kind of know the ropes of it a little bit more, but yeah I mean it was tough," said Carolyn Doughten. "It's always tough when they're not here."
"Not only am I thankful, but there's other people that should realize so many families go through the sacrifice, and there's not enough thank you," said Jennie Stadelberer.