SOUTH BEND —
Waiting for their arrival
The arrival time of the Marines was scheduled for noon and Veronica Martin was disappointed at the news that they were running behind a couple hours, which meant a longer wait to see her husband of three years.
“I’m feeling excitement and butterflies,” Veronica said. “After 10 years, I still get butterflies. It’s a good feeling. Clay learned how to wave and clap and we’re trying to perfect the wave for when he sees his daddy. The reunion is the best feeling in the world.”
She was nine months pregnant when Martin left in May.
“There were a lots of tears and fears of the unknown,” Veronica said. “This time these are good tears, happy tears. He’s coming home to me and his son.”
The couple texted each other as the two buses headed toward South Bend.
“I’ve been here since about 10:30 a.m. I couldn’t sit at home and wait,” Veronica said. “It was good for the kids to play together while waiting for their daddies to get home.”
Around the large open hall, there were children bouncing balls, running and chasing each other while waiting. Two rows of tables provided seating for people eating or just visiting. A box of Kleenex on a table was available for anyone needing tissues.
The air was filled with a sense of excitement, restlessness, eagerness, anticipation, laughter, happiness, pacing, and families waiting.
Sgt. Martin’s grandma, Claudia, said she couldn’t wait to see his reaction to his baby and was happy to have her grandson coming home.
“It was hard,” Claudia said. “I prayed for his safety all the time. I missed having him around to help me if I needed it. I’m a widow and he’s helped me so much. I hope he can stay home and doesn’t have to go back. I’m proud of him serving his country.”
The Martin family was looking forward to celebrating their Christmas with the whole family together, very soon, Ben’s mother, Peggy said.
“We’re not new to deployment,” Peggy said. “Ben was deployed in Iraq but he wasn’t married and he didn’t have a child. ... I’ve been so proud of Veronica while Ben has been in Afghanistan.”