Thursday, October 8, 2009

Faces...

I had the honor of welcoming home our troops at BWI yesterday. It was off the chart special, since a friend of John's was returning from the Middle East. I've been attending Operation Welcome Home Events for over a year and a half now. .. this is the first time, I have been looking for one particular soldier.


I've never met this Airman, only spoken with him briefly on the phone. It's actually a cute story... John purchased a 1989 pickup truck to tinker with and go 'mudding'. The truck required a lot of work; Wright-Patt has some rather amazing garages, so John has been having a good time working on his vehicles. Quite a while back, I had a voicemail from John asking I call him when I get off work. I dial his number, and hear "Hey, under the truck." I reply with my usual, "Love you, call me later". A short while later, John returns my call and says, "Mom, do you know that you told 'M' that you love him?" I told John that I thought I was talking to him, since I dialed his number. John then says, "oh, so you DON'T love 'M'?" He then hollers to 'M', "My Mom doesn't love you!" Geez.......

Needless to say, since then...it has been a running joke. When I was making a Welcome Home sign for 'M', I contemplated whether or not to color a huge red heart with this Airman's name on it! In the end...I made a 'respectful' traditional, yet patriotic sign for my son's friend.

It was fun to look for him, I had the small group around me looking for his name badge on his ABU's as well. I had never seen a photo of him and he had never seen a photo of me. This was our first time to meet. It was such an awesome moment, I knew him right away...very strange in a very cool way. Being mom, I greeted him with a hug and tears. We exchanged coins. He gave me a coin from his mission and I gave him a gratitude coin (special thanks to ShaysMa for mailing it to me!) He was exhausted from his 48 hour voyage home. I am thrilled that I was able to meet him, and welcome him home!


We shook the hands of over 230 soldiers yesterday. 230 faces. Most of these faces wore smiles, some could not hold back the tears from being so overwhelmed. We are a loud bunch, as we welcome home our heroes. As I leave the airport my voice is strained from hollering and my hands are red and stinging from the clapping. Truth is, I have seen thousands of soldiers walk our 'parade' line. Thousands of faces. If I were to ever be in a room of world leaders, it would not hold a candle to the awe of seeing and shaking the hands of our service men and women. My heart fills with such intense gratitude each time I attend an OWH event.


So many faces....

14 comments:

Mari said...

What a blessing to be able to welcome him and others home. Those events must be very moving.

JG Buzanowski said...

Great story! Being welcomed home by groups of supporters is always the best part of a deployment. The ones at Bangor stick with me years later. Three more months to go for me out here ...

CI-Roller Dude said...

When I returned from my deployments, some of the airports we landed at in the States had nice folks greating us. None of them knew us, but it made us feel really cool.
Of courese when we landed at San Francisco Airport, there was nobody like that to great us. Bunch of hippies.

Bag Blog said...

I love this story!

AirmanMom said...

mari...there are no words to adequately describe standing in the airport to welcome home our soldiers. I tear up every single time the security doors open and the first soldier comes through. Thanks for stopping by.

AirmanMom said...

jg... if you would e-mail your address to me, I would be honored to send a package off to you: t20837 at yahoo dot com
Why not request a flight coming through BWI ;)
Stay safe!

AirmanMom said...

ci...I've heard that some airports do have supportive groups to welcome home our troops...if you ask me, every single internantional airport should have at least a handful of supporters...it's amazing how loud a cowbell can be! When there have only been a dozen or so of us, we are just all the more loud. It's been said, the national terminal can hear us at times!!!!

AirmanMom said...

bag blog...thank you! I wish I had captured a photo of the first soldier through the security doors, he was absolutely stunned. 'M' kinda knew I would be there...so we were both looking for a stranger. cool, eh?
Thanks for stopping by!

joyce said...

wonderful story! Thanks for sharing.

yes---get a picture, 'cause Bag Blog can paint it! Four of her paintings have been turned into cards for Soldier's Angels. They are awesome!

joyce said...

http://bagwag.blogspot.com/2009/09/nice-things-happen.html

see her cards of soldiers here

MightyMom said...

fabulous!!

AirmanMom said...

joyce...thanks a bunch!

AirmanMom said...

mightymom...the icing on the cake was when I received a call from my son today, after he picked up 'M' from the airport. He is safe and sound and ready for a bit of R&R!

HeartBass said...

I wish I could have been there with you. One of these days I'll make it! Congratulations for all the good work you do to support our troops!