Lafayette Regional Airport is a small and quiet terminal. Except the morning of Saturday, February 9.
Standing in the waiting area, were 30 family members anticipating Corporal Dante Zacharie’s arrival.
Celebrations began when Zacharie first entered the terminal. Passengers loading and unloading outside of the airport could hear the excitement.
The 24 year old completed her first 9 month tour in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Zacharie said, “There’s a lot of love here, I’m excited to see everyone. It was a long nine months.”
Wynne Zacharie-Cluse, Dante’s aunt, set up the surprise.
Cluse said, “We have all of her aunts here, her sisters… She thinks it’s just me here waiting…”
After receiving many hugs Zacharie said, “I just expected to get off the plane and go to the car…”
Zacharie was influenced to join the army after she lost her mother to cancer 10 years ago.
Cluse said, “Dante was determined to be someone of importance and stand out in the world.”
After returning home from the military, Zacharie will attend ULL to pursue her degree in Physical Therapy. She is currently a soldier of 602nd MP Company from Bossier City, La.