HUNT VALLEY, Md. (WMAR) - Triumphant sounds, combat boots tapping to celebrate, and sighs of relief was what you heard Saturday for a group of soldiers with the Maryland National Guard.
"I expect you to take the lessons learned, your experiences and take it forward and help us shape the future of the Maryland National Guard for years to come," said Major Adkins.
The soldiers returned in July after a 10-month deployment to Afghanistan. Their mission was to train and mentor the Afghan police.
Saturday, they were back in uniform and honored with an American flag.
Thirty-two were in camouflage, but one wore street clothes.
Aaron Marchanti stood where his father, Major Robert Marchanti, was supposed to be.
Major Marchanti was killed in late February by an Afghan soldier during a shooting in a secure zone.
"It was heart breaking watching my son sit in his place,” said Peggy Marchanti, the fallen soldier’s wife. “It was also happy because I was able to see that everyone got back safely besides him," she said.
Peggy Marchanti and her husband were married for 25 years and had four children.
Marchanti was a father and teacher for 25 years in Baltimore.
Aaron has stepped up as a leader and remains selfless. Marchanti’s only daughter, Leah, has the same ability to think beyond herself.
"I am really happy for the families here who have their dad and their brother and their husband because my dad, I know he really wanted to come back home,” said Leah Marchanti. “He was missing us bad," she said.
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