Via Seamus, LA Times reporter, Tony Perry, has a really nice article about veterans and families ensuring that our military returning from overseas get a real welcome during stopovers in Maine.
Locals in Bangor, Maine, are on a mission to greet every military plane, at any time, in any weather. Their tally so far: 200,000 troops.
By Tony Perry - Times Staff Writer
April 20, 2005
BANGOR, Maine — Tired and bleary-eyed, Marines of the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif., were finally back on U.S. 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....
Be sure to read the whole piece. The comments from the over 70 year-old Marines are priceless.