Shaking a soldiers hand...

When a soldier returns home from Iraq or Afghanistan they pass through an airport in the small town of Bangor Maine.

It will be the first American soil their feet will have touched after having been away for too long.

And the chances are really good that the first faces they see... the first hands they will shake will be those of the Maine Troop Greeters.

The Maine Troop Greeters are men and women committed to welcoming every soldier returning home from war and to give a proper send off to every single man and woman heading overseas.

They offer a warm handshake, provide a free cell phone so they can call loved ones, a snack to keep them going, and hug to let them know we care.

Since they started greeting flights in May of 2003, the Maine Troop Greeters have welcomed over 3900 flights, more than 800,000 service men and women, and 172 military dogs.

This heart warming story has been turned into an award winning documentary film called "The Way We Get By" written and produced by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly.

Check the schedule to see if there is a screening in your area, if there is, please don't miss it.

Stories like this move me, deeply.

But I am embarrassed to admit that there is this small place within me that's just a little bit envious.

During the "Vietnam Era" we were warned not to travel in uniform, especially when passing through airports, because it was not uncommon to be heckled, or worse, spat on. Seriously.

Some forty plus years later there are those still waiting for their welcome home.

If you’re a subscriber and the video did not get “pushed” to your email, be sure to come back to the blog to see the trailer for "The Way We Get By".


Karen Ard said...

Ok, now you've made me cry! Thanks for the heads up on this film.

Jodi Renshaw said...

My son and I do some Troop Greeting in Bangor when we can :) It is a wonderful experience! I have posted about it on my blog: