Returning soldiers know they're fortunate to be home safe with their families, but that doesn't make it any easier to return to a normal life.
Twenty-one-year-old Lamar Morris, known to family and friends as Joe, has spent the last eight months on the ground in Fallujah. The lance corporal is obviously happy to see his family, but isn't sure how to react to all the attention by the media and strangers who approach him on the street.
Morris signed up to fight for his country in the aftermath of September 11. His father says Morris has changed dramatically in the eight months he's been gone.
Another Panama City soldier who returned home just a couple months ago is being featured on MSNBC as he tries to return to normalcy.
Twenty-two-year-old Kevin Wattenbarger is a member of the 3rd Battalion 124th Infantry Division in Panama City.
The guardsman interrupted his college career at Florida State University to serve in Iraq.
Wattenbarger spent the last year assigned to a mortar platoon there.
MSNBC followed Wattenbarger as he struggles to transition from soldier back to college student.
"What was the hardest part of readjusting?”
“Trying to not be on guard. I always felt on the edge. I couldn't calm down. I learned I just needed to back off, that everything is safe here," says Kevin Wattenbarger.
Both men say the loss of life they've experienced has set them back, but it hasn't stopped them from moving forward toward a successful future.