This past month I had the honor of going to the Baltimore airport to welcome home one of the Soldiers from my husband’s unit. The Soldier’s battalion is based in California so his family could not be there to welcome him home. This Soldier, like many Reserve Soldiers, flew from Kuwait to Germany to Baltimore where he would take a bus to get to Ft. Dix, New Jersey for demobilization. He would spend at least a week there before being able to see his family. He was thrilled to be back to the United States. His return was made sweeter because of Operation Welcome Home.
As he walked into the terminal, applause, signs stating welcome home, and other service members from his flight greeted him. Each service member was handed a care package with some snacks and a note of appreciation. As they walked, numerous volunteers from Operation Welcome Home thanked them and shook their hands.
Since March of 2007, Operation Welcome Home has been greeting service members at the BWI airport. They have greeted over 180,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airman, Marines and Coast Guard service members. They are there to greet your Soldiers as they return from deployment. Operation Welcome Home greets every military flight that comes into BWI. Each of the volunteers has their own story. Many are veterans themselves. One told me he made a point of being there for every flight. When he returned home from Vietnam, no one greeted him or thanked him for his service. He is there to make sure that does not happen to anyone again. Another man was retired. He and his wife try to greet every flight. On this day, they were in charge of handing out the bags of snacks.
I was moved by their willingness to make sure every service member had someone there to thank them and greet them. They are there for all of us who wish we could be. Thank you Operation Welcome Home!