By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It may not have been in the backyard, but barbecue and bonding made this Fourth of July more memorable for hundreds of U.S. troops. They were treated to a special lunch at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Monday.

The lunch was organized by the USO and supported by Verizon Wireless. It was an opportunity to spend a little more time with their families before they were deployed.

“It means a lot, there’s a lot of soldiers here that don’t have family. They’re coming from different areas, so it means a lot to have mom and dad, my grandparents and girlfriend here,” U.S. Army Specialist Ray Gould said.

Specialist Ray Gould is from Denton, but on this day, he’s headed to Iraq for the first time.

“It’s kind of poetic,” his father Kenneth Gould said.

Kenneth Gould is cognizant of the significance of his son’s service and the date of his deployment.

“This is what he wanted – he wants to go there and serve the country,” Gould said of his son.

Patriotism and pride are two commonalities among the servicemen; their courage inspires those they leave behind, family members said.

“Our young men and women who go off to serve – they so humbly give their lives and time for us. I so appreciate them and their love for our country,” Virginia Gould said.

“Our family bleeds red, white and blue. We really love the men and women who serve and it’s just been a blessing to be associated with it.”

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