As a veteran of the U. S. Army and a concerned naturalized citizen, I was pleased to publish a posting on my blog titled "Supporting the Troops" on 11/11/07. This current posting was prompted by a suggestion of a good friend of mine, Rosendo Castillo, a Vietnam War veteran, and originated with well deserved recognition by ABC News of a Texan who started what he called the "Welcome Home a Hero" program.
Bert Brady, a 69 year old veteran, was well aware of the fact that our troops who fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars did not get a warm reception when they came home in the 1950's and 1970's, respectively. For the most part the returning troops were either ignored or, especially in the case of those who fought in Vietnam, were actually received in many cases with hostility, in part because much of the media and many citizens were strongly against the war, and in part because a very small number of the troops did not serve with the honor we would expect.
Brady started the "Welcome Home" program for the troops returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with the goal of making these soldiers feel more appreciated and proud of their service, notwithstanding the substantial public controversy over our military and political involvement in those two countries, especially Iraq. In 2006, as I understand it, Brady traveled to the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on 300 different days to greet returning troops, and organizing many others to join him, including many other veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars, also many Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and a sizable number of other senior citizens. For these initiatives ABC News named Brady their "Person of the Week" and put together a short moving video piece appearing on You Tube which clearly shows how appreciative the troops were.
I think this is great and Brady should be commended. As concerned citizens we must remember to differentiate between the government decisions many understandably disagree with that get the country involved in serious military conflicts abroad, and the service of our troops who are obliged to follow orders initiated by our governmental leaders. Welcoming home our troops by civilian volunteers, and without spending any taxpayer moneys, is something no one can legitimately criticize and everyone should applaud. Good job, Mr. Brady!