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One of the most wonderful phrases we hear in our lives is, “Welcome Home”! I know how much I love hearing it but yesterday brought new meaning to saying it or more accurately, shouting it.
We live in a beautiful area in the Pacific Northwest that is considered smalltown. Our mayor is a vice principal at the local high school, one of our county commissioner has been a local farmer and almost everybody knows someone who has been deployed with our military. Yesterday, most of our National Guard troops came home from a year plus long deployment. We had the privilege of greeting them as their bus rolled into town.
As we stood, flags waving, holding up signs, clicking pictures, videotaping and shouting “Thank You!” and “Welcome Home!”, a gentlemen stood next to us, waving enthusiastically along with the rest of us. When we returned home, as I was looking at the photos, I noticed that his arm was in several shots. When I mentioned this, The Coffee Guy just said “Honey, he was a Vietnam Veteran.” At that instant, I was more than happy to have at least a part of him in these photos. In fact, I even wished that I had gotten a good picture and thanked him for his service and sacrifice.
As many know, there weren’t parades, folks waving flags or hundreds of people lining the streets when this gentleman returned home. If he was lucky, he avoided the angry protests and horrific mistreatment that so many of our heroes were subjected to those many years ago.
So today I am in awe with gratitude. Gratitude for those who are willing to lay down their lives for their country in order for us to remain safe and free. Even more than that, I am grateful that it seems (at least for now) that we as a nation have learned to say thank you and to make these soldiers know, they are welcomed home!