Every day, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is the arrival point for over 100 American soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afganistan for their two week break of R & R.
The Welcome Home A Hero program was started years ago. Each day hundreds of volunteers and people from the community meet in the terminal to provide a warm welcoming committee for the soldiers. Volunteers hand out lapel pins for the greeters to keep.
The posters and banners all around the terminal add to the patriotic welcome home.
We spent some time there today with our Cub Scout pack. We spent quite a while just walking around looking at all of the signs.
Rachel especially liked the posters with stickers, ribbons or other things that made them more fun to touch.
She found a poster with a drawing of the American flag and compared it to her flag.
I brought small flags from home for the kids but there are flags available in the terminal for greeters to borrow during the welcoming.
The flags were a big hit with my kiddos. I'm glad I gave them small flags because they were waving them all over the place and anything bigger would have certainly ended up poking someone's eye out!
We only had a few boys from our Pack join us but we were all super excited about this special opportunity to meet real live heroes.
We ended up having to wait a while for the plane to land and the soldiers to enter the terminal.
Rachel did well for a while. She enjoyed playing with the other scouts and looking at all of the people. She's a "people watcher" like her Mommy.
But eventually a 2 year old must wander and it became a little challenging to keep her in one place with all of the excitement in the room. I spent some time talking to her about heroes and soldiers and why this was such an important thing for us to do.
She seemed to soak in what I was saying but eventually she just got tired of waiting and wanted to be held. A Mommy never minds holding on to her little ones.
Everyone got excited once the soliders finally started walking through the terminal.
The boys were trying to reach out to shake a soldier's hand but it was a little challenging for them because of the spot we picked. Most of the soldiers had gear and backpacks on their left side and naturally would shake hands of people on their right side. We were stationed to their left so we didn't get to personally greet as many soldiers as we would have liked.
Some of the soldiers were really fired up about being back home and seeing such an excited welcoming committee. They were smiling and trying to shake the greeters' hands.
Others were more somber and I'm sure tired so they just walked on through maybe shaking one or two hands along the way.
The Welcome Home A Hero is a really great experience for adults and children alike but most importantly it brings a smile to some soldiers and lets them know just how much their sacrifice means to us.
All are welcome to participate in the Welcome Home A Hero program. To learn about flight arrivals, call 972-574-0393 after 8:00 pm for a recorded message informing you of the arrival time for the next morning. You may also want to check the recording in the morning before you leave for the airport just to check for any last minute delays. In July, on even days, flights will arrive at 8:00 am at Terminal D, Gate 22. On odd days, flights will arrive at 12:15 pm at Terminal B, Gate 37. For the month of August, on even days, flights will arrive at 12:30 pm at Terminal B, Gate 37. On odd days, the flights will arrive at 8:00 am at Terminal D, Gate 22. You may park in the two hour parking lot located across from the terminal.
Parking passes will be issued by Welcome Home A Hero so you will not have to pay for your parking. However, do not use your toll tag to enter the airport property because those fees are paid automatically and can not be refunded by the parking passes given to you at the event.
For more information, please check out the Welcome Home A Hero webpage.