A Hero's Welcome --- To the Mostly Undeserving

Unbeknown to us, there was a scheduled stop in Bangor, Maine before the plane continued on to Leipzig, Germany.  I had been there before on a military flight coming back from Reforger 82 when I was with the 7th ID out of Fort Ord.  As we were walking through the jetway, I heard the sound of clapping and cheering.  As I entered the terminal, there was a gauntlet of military retirees, former military, and their wives welcoming us to Bangor, thanking us for our service, and wishing us well on our upcoming mission overseas.  I was overwhelmed.  Very, very touching and I was very appreciative. 

These guys are not with the USO.  They staff a separate welcoming office in the terminal where they talk with the Soldiers and Marines passing through.  Good Americans all.  You'd never see this in Los Angeles.  The dry erase board reflects the number of planes and military personnel these guys have welcomed since 2003.

Here's their "store front" in the terminal.

They've collected thousands of military coins from the units and officers and NCOs and placed them in these shadow boxes.  They have run out of space in order to display them all.

A closer view of the coins.

All-in-all, I was proud to be an American after passing through these folks' grateful smiles and handshakes.  I just wished we were coming home instead of going out.  Many on the young Soldiers on our plane have not been in combat and have not even been overseas yet.  There's a year's worth of adventure and misery to be experienced before this kind of welcome is truly deserved.

Here's a plug for these guys and what they do:  Maine Troop Greeters, Bangor Maine

I'll be making a donation to them for their kindness and the knowledge that their attention will go to more deserving guys and gals returning from war.