A hero's welcome awaits returning Marine

By Anna Carrera

Published 05/13 2014 04:56PM

Updated 05/14 2014 09:07AM

CATLIN -- One of Central Illinois Marines is back home safely after a tour overseas. Lance Corporal Seth Burns returned Tuesday. A hero's homecoming was waiting for him. WCIA-3's Anna Carerra was there as a parade of people followed him into town from Danville.

L Cpl. Burns took a red-eye flight to Indianapolis, then drove the rest of the way home before ten Tuesday morning. It was a long day for him, but he's happy to be back and his family is glad to see him too.

Long before Seth came back to town, the stage was set for a big welcome.

"He's one of the younger kinds in our big family," said Seth's older brother, David. 

After waiting months, David came out to wait a little longer.

"He grew up kind of fast, so that makes it even more exciting to see him finally come home again," said David.  

At the American Legion in Catlin, the anticipation grew, until finally, they heard sirens in the distance. Riding in with the Patriot Guard and Catlin's Fire Department, the marine so many people had missed was finally home. The 20-year old says it's hard to explain the experiences he's had during the past two years.

"When you go out in combat like that, it's pretty nerve-racking," said Seth. "But you don't really think much about it. You train for a long time and when bullets start flying, you just jump out and do what you've got to do."

He served as a rifleman; a job which opened a wide range of emotions for his family.

"Me and my sisters and my other brother, we were just like, 'Woo hoo!.' But, my parents were biting their nails," said David. 

"As soon as I heard from him, I'd be okay for awhile," said Seth's mother, Sheri. "Then you start getting nervous again and worried about him."

No need to worry now. Burns is back to stay, at least for a while. But, even he didn't expect to see all these people.

"I was like, 'Just me?' I'm just a kid doing my job," said Seth. "That's how I see it. I don't see myself as a hero or anything."

"It warms our hearts to see the community come out and respond in a loving way to him coming back," said Seth's father, David. 

Back to his family, his friends and the freedom he fought so hard to protect.

"I'm just going to live it up right now," said Seth. "Just enjoy every day for what it's worth."

L Cpl. Burns says he's been proud to be a part of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Middle East. He'll probably go back next year for another tour. His family hopes he comes back just as safely as he did this time.

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