DFW Airport to ends "Welcome Home a Hero" program
Those American flags and welcome signs won't be needed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport anymore.
Every day, for the past eight years, at least one chartered plane carrying U.S. soldiers heading home for two weeks of rest and recuperation from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan has touched down at both Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airports.
For every flight, volunteers in the "Welcome Home a Hero" program have gathered to enthusiastically greet every returning soldier.
"The welcome is a festive event with recorded patriotic music and anywhere from 30 to 300 cheering people holding flags and homemade signs and banners," said Donna Cranston, coordinator of the Dallas/Fort Worth program. The greeting has become so well-known that some soldiers request to arrive in the U.S. via Dallas instead of Atlanta, Cranston said, even though that means they may have to wait longer for a connecting flight home.
The drawdown of troops in Iraq and the shift to shorter deployments however, means there are no longer two full planes of R&R-bound soldiers returning home each day. So the U.S. army has decided to consolidate the "Welcome Home a Hero" program in Atlanta.
March 14 will be the final Dallas arrival.