Former hostage Thomas Hamill returned to American soil Saturday to a chorus of cheering family and friends, but people close to him say his thoughts are with Americans still in harm's way in Iraq.
"Tommy is extremely concerned about his comrades in Iraq and thinking about them is his priority," said family spokeswoman Aly Goodwin-Gregg.
The 44-year-old Hamill, and wife Kellie, spoke only to friends and relatives after returning home on a flight from Germany about 1 a.m. Saturday. They were met at the plane by about a dozen friends and neighbors; members of the media outnumbered the supporters 2 to 1.
Hamill, whose plight captured the attention of the nation, escaped his Iraqi captors Sunday and has been treated for an arm injury at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He was wounded when his convoy was ambushed April 9.
The truck driver, who works for Halliburton Corp. subsidiary KBR, released a statement through the company Saturday, saying that he is praying for "my two missing colleagues, the safety of my friends and co-workers in Iraq as well as the families of those who have lost a loved one."
All was quiet at the Hamill home Saturday morning. Yellow police tape kept waiting media crews off the lawn, and ribbons decorated the two white columns in front of the modest brick home. Red, white and blue balloons floated atop the mail box.
Hamill's grandmother said the family planned a cookout for Saturday afternoon. "I was so thrilled just to see Tommy back on this side. Now if he can just get a little rest," said Vera Hamill, 92.
Hamill came out to back yard Saturday afternoon, holding up his wounded arm in greetings to those outside. He and wife Kellie then walked around, arm in arm, greeting friends and family before joining others for the meal.
Hamill said earlier this week that he was particularly looking forward to quiet time with his children. As a result, Macon Mayor Dorothy Baker Hines said plans for a parade and other celebrations in his hometown were called off for now.
The news was a disappointment to some in this rural east Mississippi community of about 2,500.
"They prayed and had hopes up. They are glad he's home. They wanted to celebrate with him," said Tina Brooks, 36.
But Jesse Green, a family friend who visited the Hamill’s on Saturday, said Hamill "does not want to draw any attention to himself. He does not consider himself a hero."
After meeting with his family, one of the first things Hamill will have to deal with are letters and calls offering him movie and book deals.
"He's got mail about movie deals and all sorts of things," his mother, Phyllis Hamill, said Friday.