Matteson soldier gets hero's welcome home

November 10, 2010 (MATTESON, Ill.)

Sgt. Alexander was escorted to his parents' house on a road that was turned into a parade route with sirens, flashing lights and a high school drum line heralding his homecoming. The soldier said he was overwhelmed to see such fanfare from cheering neighbors, local school children and, most of all, his family.

"It's a joy that it comes from deep within. It's like no other joy that you feel from your parents or you feel from anybody else," said Alexander.

Many people waited to greet Alexander, but the first person to hug him was his mother.

"I've seen him leave so many times and go back to Iraq, that I'm just grateful that he made it back," said Janis Alexander, mother.

Sgt. Alexander was in Iraq for 12 months where he worked as an intelligence analyst. He continues the long family tradition of military service. His father, who served during the Vietnam era, said his son's homecoming makes this Veterans Day even more special.

"So many of our soldiers come back, return home and some are not as well off as he is, but bless all of them that come. So happy to have him home," said father Charles Alexander.

Alexander's grandfather, Archie Spears, is a World War II veteran. Unlike past generations, Alexander is grateful veterans are now shown a great deal of respect.

"I've lost a lot of friends in Iraq, and it really makes me feel good to know that the people of the United States care about their soldiers," said Alexander.

Sgt. Alexander will be home for a month, and then he will be stationed in Arizona for three years where he will teach new recruits. After that, he's not sure if he will have to go back overseas.

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