RALEIGH --The National Guard's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team soldiers returned home in February, but now thanks to the RBC Center they got the celebration of a lifetime on Sunday.The RBC Center donated the facility and staff for the ceremony to honor the nearly four thousand soldiers and family members of the guard's combat team.
The celebration kicked off with a concert that welcomed home the members of the North Carolina National Guard who have been deployed to Iraq.
"I'm glad to be in America and I'm glad to be home," N.C. National Guard Specialist, Michael Batchelor said.
Many Dignitaries, like Governor Perdue participated in the ceremony and lined up along the stage in front of pictures of the members they lost in the mission.
Soldiers who back home now say they're glad to be back but that it didn't always come easy.
"It's different over there," Batchelor said. "They don't have very much and I'm thankful for what I have now."
"Very difficult, you miss your family and the people around you are driving you crazy," N.C. National Guard Specialist, Michelle Howard said.
"It was a great experience," N.C. National Guard Sergeant, Korrie Drakes said. "I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I'm just glad to be back home."
The soldiers will do some readjusting. The National Guard says the soldiers and their families will work on a campaign to help with the transition back to their civilian life.
"Right now I'm just a grandmother taking care of grandbaby," Howard said.
Specialist Michelle Howard will go from being a driver in Iraq, to a postal service worker. Other soldiers will be in school.
Regardless of where they are right now, they were all grateful for Sunday's ceremony.
"It was emotional, It was emotional, the people that we lost," Howard said.
"It's kind of like the final conclusion to a long, drawn out process and I'm glad it's over," Batchelor said.