NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Welcoming home our troops

I have written about the Friends of Nevada County Military in past posts and their program to meet home coming troops. Here is another inspiring story about meeting the troops and how important this simple act can be to the troops.
"Welcome Stop for Warriors," Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times, April 20 (available only through LA Times archives)

"Tired and bleary-eyed, Marines of the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif., were finally back on US soil after seven months on the front lines in Iraq. But they were still many miles and hours from their families and the homecoming they longed for. Their officers told them they would be on the ground for 60 to 90 minutes while their chartered plane was refueled. So they disembarked and began walking through the airport terminal corridor to a small waiting room. That's when they heard the applause.

"Lining the hall and clapping were dozens of Bangor residents who have set a daunting task for themselves: they want every Marine, soldier, sailor, and airman returning through the tiny international airport here to get a hero's welcome. Even if the planes arrive in the middle of the night or a blizzard, they are there. Composed mostly from the generation that served in World War II and Korea, they call themselves the Maine Troop Greeters. They have met every flight bringing troops home from Iraq for nearly two years--more than 1,000 flights and nearly 200,000 troops.

" 'Here they come. Everybody get ready,' said Joyce Goodwin, 71, her voice full of excitement, undiminished by the hundreds of times she has shown up to embrace the returning troops. As dozens more Marines came down the corridor, the applause grew louder and was accompanied by handshakes, hugs, and a stream of well wishes: 'Welcome home.' 'Thank you for your service.' 'God bless you.' 'Thank you for everything.' Faces brightened. Grouchiness disappeared. Greeters and Marines alike began taking photographs. The Marines were directed down a corridor decorated with American flags and red, white and blue posters to cell phones for free calls to family members….

"Most of the greeters support the US mission in Iraq, but their goal is historic, not political. Discussion of politics is banned. The greeters don't want America to repeat what they consider a shameful episode in history: the indifference, even hostility, that the public displayed to troops returning from Vietnam. 'I think there's a lot of collective guilt about the '60s,' said greeter Dusty Fisher, 63, a retired high school history teacher now serving in the state Legislature."

Tip of the hat to the TIA Daily Report
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