I also watched the reporting, with my three young children (4,3 & 18 months at the time). I was horrified when the second one hit.
We had just moved into our house, and we are only about 5 miles from the Navy's east coast Master Jet Base. So, the scariest part was how silent it was. The only thing flying was a group of 5 helicopters that went over the house at a very low altitude towards the ocean - like were chasing something. Plus, my husband was on a base in CA, and I couldn't reach him.
I know what you mean about the relief you felt when you finally got home. It took hubby til Friday to find a flight that would get him as far as Pittsburgh. Then he had to rent a car and drive the other 9 hours home. I have never been so relieved to see him - even after 6-month deployments.