One Huntsville family's Independence Day celebration means more this year than ever before.
Three brothers: Eddie, Everett and Exavier Massey - all soldiers - returned home to Huntsville just in time for the July 4 weekend. The Massey family was whole again for the occasion - celebrating a homecoming and the country the brothers fought for over the last nine months.
Each man, all Alabama A&M students in their 20s, are also members of the Army National Guard. They follow in the footsteps of their father, who also served. The brothers were in Afghanistan at the same time, sometimes together, sometimes separated.
Back at home, their parents anxiously awaited their arrival. Their father, Eddie Massey Sr., said while he was stressed at home, he knows their experience was much tougher.
"They had some trying times," Eddie said. "They were trained and ready for everything they had to face. They left here as boys and came back men, so it prospered for me."
Friends accompanied the welcome-home party Friday, many of whom hadn't seen the brothers for nearly a year. The men themselves were clearly happy to be back. They said they missed the small things people usually take for granted: fresh air, grass, fast food - and their dad's barbecue.
Eddie, Everett and Exavier said they were grateful to have the opportunity to check in with each other in-person during their tour. They agreed it was easier dealing with the stresses of combat with a brother going through the same things, and that you always had someone to talk to.
When their boots touched U.S. soil on Tuesday, mother Sandra said the reunion was indescribable beyond saying, "It is so wonderful; it is a blessing."
"I chose the oldest one, who I thought was the strongest, and I just jumped around his neck and held on to the other two at the same time," Sandra said on her first course of action after nine months and little communication with her sons.
Their reunion was a blessing for the soldiers, a prayer answered for their parents... and an honor to witness for the rest of us.
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