View Full Version : Yellow ribbons will welcome home Granite Bay veterans

12-17-08, 05:50 AM
Yellow ribbons will welcome home Granite Bay veterans
By Cynthia Hubert
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008 | Page 3B

Granite Bay's soldiers and Marines are coming home for the holidays, and a hundred yellow ribbons are greeting them.

It was all Susan Schoen's idea.

Schoen, whose son Matthew has served two tours in Iraq, wanted to do something to honor young people returning from war zones this holiday season. She remembered the yellow ribbons that decorated communities during the Vietnam War era, and she had an idea.

So, at the crack of dawn on Sunday, she and other parents of military sons and daughters began draping yellow ribbons around trees along nearly four miles of Douglas Boulevard in Granite Bay.

"It's a reminder of all of the kids who are here for the holidays, all of them who are back home for good, and the ones who can't come home at all," said Schoen.

Airman Matthew Schoen cannot make it home for Thanksgiving, but his family is expecting him at Christmas.

Others already are celebrating the return of sons and daughters from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mark and Teresa Soto will be welcoming their sons Benjamin and Joshua, both of whom have witnessed the Iraq conflict firsthand. It has been more than two years since the brothers have seen each other.

Benjamin, an Army sniper, and Joshua, a Marine rifleman, deployed to Iraq late last year. Benjamin has seen several of his close friends die or suffer severe wounds in recent months, said his father, Mark Soto.

"He has seen the worst of the worst," he said. "It's a miracle he made it through this deployment."

Thanksgiving will be especially poignant this year in the Soto household, he said. "It's surreal to know that all of my family will be here. We are so stoked. It's just a joy."

Benjamin Soto arrived home to Granite Bay on Monday. His brother Joshua will arrive Wednesday from Camp Pendleton in San Diego, and his dad gave him very specific driving instructions.

I told him, 'Make sure you go up Douglas on your way to the house,' " Mark Soto said. "We have a surprise for you."

Call The Bee's Cynthia Hubert, (916) 321-1082.