Army Specialist Thomas Westwater, 22, of Tinley Park, was applauded as he rode on a Midway Airport escalator. He is home for 16 days then returns to Afghanistan. He says it's great to be home for the holidays.
"I just didn't expect everyone to be out there. It felt good, surprised. So it feels good to have everyone welcome you home like that," said Specialist Thomas.
"Just to see him, to touch him, and to know he's home and safe is the best feeling I have ever had, maybe probably since the day he's been born," said Theresa Westwater, mother.
Other family members stressed that they pray for his safety and for all members of the military who risk their lives for their country.