A surprise welcome home celebration stunned a local Marine Friday as he returned from Syria to the southwest suburbs.
It wasn't a huge parade or giant party, but it certainly made a difference to one marine sergeant and his family, thrilled to have him back home and safe.
Looking slightly stunned, Sergeant James Meyer returned home from war-torn Syria -- clearly not expecting the welcome party outside a Lemont grocery store.
“This is amazing, I didn't expect all this... it helps... a little at a time, that's all I can really do and this is a big step,” Meyer said.
While sharing handshakes and hugs, Meyer admitted he's been struggling since finishing active duty with the Marines. When his unit got back from Syria, Meyer was delayed and missed the homecoming.
His mom, Cindy, says he deserved some sort of celebration.
“It was really rough out there... seen a lot of bad things and was almost killed several times so it's good to have him home in one piece,” Cindy said.
Armed with flags, family, friends as well as Lemont police and fire turned out for the last minute gathering.
And of course, vets from the local VFW hall weren't going to miss it either.
“These men and women who serve our country deserve our adulation when they come home and that's about the gist of it,” said Bob Rose, Lemont VFW Post Commander.
“A lot of people come home and they don't get anything, people don't even know they're in the military and just to come home whether it's one person or 10 people, 50 people, a handshake a hug -- it means the world,” Meyer said.
Police and fire escorted Sergeant Meyer and his new wife to their home, proving they are very welcome here.