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Star Tribune: Minnesota military families honored, soldiers welcomed home in two ceremonies

Jesse Pope’s first day back in Blaine last month after a year deployed with the Minnesota National Guard in Kuwait was certainly emotional. But each day since he’s been home has also presented its share of charged moments.

Sitting in his old spot on the couch. Opening a beer. Driving up his driveway again.

“Watching ‘Game of Thrones,’?” adds his wife, Shannon, laughing.

“When you first experience [those things] again, they’re very powerful,” Jesse Pope said Saturday before a homecoming ceremony in Anoka for nearly 200 Minnesota National Guard soldiers and their families.

Military personnel and their families filled an auditorium to welcome back the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade’s Headquarters Company and the 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion from respective yearlong missions in Iraq and Kuwait that changed in scope as the United States’ conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant escalated.

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