It’s been almost two months since my first encounter with a flight escorting a fallen soldier home and it has been a tough subject to write about, talk about, and think about.
It’s a tough subject not only because we are fighting on two fronts, McChrystal stepped down, and overall it is a controversial war, but also because it is often hard to watch a casket taken away or a wife morn the death of her husband.
Let me give you some background on this post. On June 9, 2010 I was waiting at my gate in Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport for my flight home to Denver. The gate attendant informed us a soldier would be escorting her fallen soldier husband home from the Middle East. We stood as she was escorted onto the plane and remained standing until the USO volunteers came off. I was already touched by that simple display of honor and respect to a fallen soldier and his wife, who is also serving our country. One passenger honored the woman soldier by asking the passengers to sing The Star Spangled Banner. As we arrived at DIA we were told to remain seated until we were told it was okay to de-plane. The woman was escorted onto the tarmac where other soldiers awaited her. We watched through the windows as the fallen soldier was taken off the plane and put into a car.
The flight from the moment we were asked to stand at DFW till the car door was closed and we were allowed to de-plane at DIA was intense and emotional. I have never been privileged to witness a ceremony like that. It got me thinking: what do we do to thank our trips or send them well wishes as they go off to fight for our freedom?
So this post, in part, is to educate you, and myself, on how we can show our support for the troops.
The biggest organization that celebrates, supports and honors U.S. troops is the USO (United Service Organizations.) The USO has locations in more than 130 different cities, including war zones. The USO makes care packages, organizes welcome homes and send-offs and offers many more programs to U.S. soldiers. If you want to volunteer with the USO, to put together care packages or welcome home troops, visit the locations page to contact your local USO. If you have other questions about volunteering visit their FAQ page.
At Buildasign.com you can create a 2 x 4 banner to welcome home troops. The banners are free, you only have to pay for shipping. If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and you’re interested in welcoming home troops please visit this page.
No matter if you support and agree with the war or not it is important to support the troops. Men and women who become soldiers become them for many different reasons. Some need a stable paycheck, others believe America is the best country to live in and want to fight for it, others are paying off jail time by serving in the military. Unless you know a soldier and his/her story personally, you’ll never fully know why a soldier is serving our country. So let us be grateful for the soldiers. They are putting their lives on the line every day to fight for our freedom, our country, and our honor.
To all American soldiers: thank you.