The 182nd Infantry Regiment of the National Guard returned to Melrose, Massachusetts, on Saturday after their deployment to Washington, D.C.
A cheering group of family and supporters welcomed the guardsmen, who arrived back in Melrose late in the afternoon.
“When we started seeing photos of him with the rifle, it was tough. It was tough," one parent welcoming his son back to Massachusetts said. "Just prayed for him that he’s going to be safe.”
Other parents also experienced the emotion of seeing the events of the week transpire on television, but not specifically knowing the status of their children.
“It was very stressful, not knowing," said Ilysa McCarthy, who welcomed her son Tim back to Melrose. "Because they couldn’t contact you."
Mayor Paul Brodeur, who announced the return in a tweet Saturday morning, did not cite reports of National Guard members sleeping in unheated parking garages as the reason for recalling the Massachusetts infantry.
Nearly 80 National Guard personnel were sent to the nation's capital to help keep the peace in the wake of the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Massachusetts sent about 500 National Guard members to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of President Joe Biden, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu had also approved a request to send approximately 50 soldiers and airmen to Washington for the inauguration. However, the governor ordered the return of all New Hampshire National Guard members Friday following a report that all Guardsmen from across the country were being forced to sleep in unheated parking garages.
Brodeur is asking residents to welcome the National Guard members home by lining the sidewalks around the armory with signs and flags. He is asking people to wear masks and practice social distancing amid a statewide spike in coronavirus cases.