A North Texas former army lieutenant was welcomed home on Saturday evening after he received a full pardon from President Donald Trump.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance arrived at Bland High School in Hunt County, where he arrived to a sea of flashing red and blue lights, patriotic balloons and a crowd of more than 200 people.
Lorance served more than six years at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, as part of a 19-year sentence. He was convicted of ordering his soldiers to fire upon three Afghan men in July 2012, killing two.
"Only days after Lieutenant Lorance had taken command of his platoon in one of the most dangerous battle zones in Afghanistan, motorcycle with three men approached him and his men with unusual speed," a statement from the White House said.
NBC News reports, several of Lorance's soldiers testified at his court-martial that the Afghan men posed no imminent danger.
At his homecoming Saturday night, Lorance delivered a personal message to President Trump before the crowd.
"We finally have a commander in chief who understands our mission. We finally have a president that when America sends our troops to fight impossible wars, we must stand behind them," Lorance said. "Our troops can now go into battle and know that our own government finally has their back. It's been a long time coming. A soldier who knows his commanders love him will kick down the doors of hell for his country, for this country."
Lorance also recognized members of Congress who supported his case, along with those who have reached out to him while he was serving time at Fort Leavenworth.
"In six years, a dozen days with no mail. A dozen days with no ray of light. That’s incredible. That's more than incredible. You gave me strength to go on," he said.
Trump's intervention on Lorance's case along with two other high-profile murder cases involving U.S. service members does not come without criticism.
Reacting to the news, the ACLU tweeted Friday calling it a "shameful use of presidential powers."
"It send a clear message of disrespect for the law, morality, the military justice system, and those in the military who abide by the laws of war," the tweet said.
A statement from the White House said the President, "as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted."