This is the story of Bert Brady, a 69-year-old retired military veteran who does that and gives from his heart to bring joy and appreciation to people he had never previously met.
But Dear Reader: A note of caution before you read today’s story. If you know me personally, you know I’ve opposed the Iraq war since before it was launched. Yet this is the story of a caring man who is doing something very kind for the U.S. troops returning home from war.
If you’d rather not think about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you may want to delete this article but I think you may feel as I did, and find what Bert does to be unusually thoughtful and kind.
Now back to our story:
300-times in the last year, Bert Brady has gone to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport to welcome home the U.S. soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. He does this for free and on his own time because he wants these soldiers to know that they are appreciated.
He urges people to join him. And at various times he’s been joined by Vietnam and Korean war veterans, by the boy and girl scouts, by civic, religious and military organizations, by retirees, by school children and others.
And when the soldiers arrive, they’re greeted with hugs, handshakes and they are told how much their service is appreciated. And cookies are handed out.
This is in sharp contrast to what the Vietnam veterans received, when in most cases the best they got was indifference. Often, they were criticized and some even spat upon. Most Korean veterans essentially had no-one other than immediate family to greet them, and some soldiers didn’t even have that.
As shown by the November elections and by the polls, the large majority of Americans strongly oppose the Iraq war. But they care for the U.S. troops and their families and some such as Bert Brady are finding ways to express it.
According to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport, www.dfwairport.com over 100 soldiers a day land at their airport. Some soldiers have finished their military service and others will be returning to Iraq or Afghanistan. Most would like to know that people here appreciate their sacrifices.
Those sacrifices include the long separation from their families, their jobs and their normal lives and the danger they were placed in along with the horrors they’ve absorbed.
All of these soldiers will carry with them, what will become a lifetime of horrific memories, of the loss of comrades and of the loss of Iraqis and/or Afghanis that many of them had tried to help.
Thanks to people like Bert Brady and others who volunteer their time, when these soldiers arrive at that airport, they know that the American people appreciate their service and care about them.