September 11th, 2001, a stunned nation mourns, a military prepares. Fast forward to September 11th, 2004; a proud stateline smiles, a local military unit hails.
"Three years ago a lot of people gave their lives helping people that they didn't know and just showing the true nature of the American spirit," 333rd Unit Captain Ron Bonesz said.
That spirit was alive and well at a flag cloaked Eagle's Club. There, speakers praised the 333rd Unit's service and the way the company carried out their operation with both honor and dignity.
"They went over to Iraq. They helped out people they didn't know and they served and they sacrificed for the armed forces and expanding freedom, " Bonesz said.
Nearly two months after their return home, the party allowed the company to tighten their bond as civilians and reflect on the bond they made as soldiers.
"I didn't know anybody when I got here. The more that I was with these people, they were like brothers and sisters, just great to be here part of it," 333rd soldier Brian Baird said.
Things would happen to people at home that you can't do anything about, and everyone would pull together and help everyone out through the tough times. We're just real close," 333rd soldier James Johnson said.
On the anniversary of one of America's darkest days, the festivities brightened the spirits of a community, remembering how the unit contributed in fighting the War on Terror.
"It's fitting perhaps. This might be fate, this might be the only day we could have done it, but it's very appropriate," Bonesz said.