Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pease Greeters Welcome Their 485th Flight on Thanksgiving Day

NH News Photographer

The Pease Greeters, an all volunteer group of veterans and civilians dedicated to showing their appreciation for troops from all nations and military branches, welcomed their 485th flight on Thanksgiving Day. 154 American troops exited the aircraft transporting them to the United States from Afghanistan via Iceland were met at the gate by hundreds of cheering Greeters and well-wishers. The Greeters, from toddlers to decorated World War II veterans, met the troops with hugs, handshakes and smiles, while animal Greeters gave face licks and tail wags. Each of the troops made their way into the terminal via the “Heroes Walk”, part of the military museum housed at the airport in conjunction with the Pease Development Authority, the only such installment at a commercial airport in the country.

Once inside the terminal, the Greeters provided the troops with food, beverages, gifts, stuffed animals, camaraderie and companionship, all donated by local companies, private donors and the Greeters themselves. There is a permanent communications center and the troops are given cell phones to call anyone in the world free of charge.

Prior to departure the troops stopped at the U.S. Customs area for a brief ceremony, as they do prior to every flight. The veterans raised the flag; Everyone said the Pledge of Allegiance; A prayer was given thanking the troops and their families for their sacrifices. A star cut from a retired American flag was given to each troop.

The Pease Greeters meet every troop flight, whether 2 A.M. on a Monday morning or 5 P.M. on a Saturday afternoon. New Greeters are always warmly welcomed. If you would like to donate or participate, please visit their website at www.peasegreeters.org

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The Pease airport terminal

The Pease airport terminal

The Knights of Columbus' donate to the troops and Pease Greeters. Other major donors include Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts and Friendly's Ice Cream.

The Knights of Columbus’ donate to the troops and Pease Greeters. Other major donors include Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts and Friendly’s Ice Cream.

Windham resident Dick Forde is on the Pease Greeters Board of Directors

Windham resident Dick Forde is on the Pease Greeters Board of Directors

Pease Airport manager Alan Weston reads the history of New Hampshire's state motto, read to the troops upon arrival in a private area

Pease Airport manager Alan Weston reads the history of New Hampshire’s state motto, read to the troops upon arrival in a private area

The history of New Hampshire's state motto

The history of New Hampshire’s state motto

Greeters welcoming troops home from Afghanistan

Greeters welcoming troops home from Afghanistan

Returning troops making the Heroes' Walk into the terminal

Returning troops making the Heroes’ Walk into the terminal

James Reilly stops to talk to a returning troop

James Reilly stops to talk to a returning troop

American troops enjoying their reception

American troops enjoying their reception

The departure ceremony

The departure ceremony

The commanders receive sweatshirts, singed by each Greeter

The commanders receive sweatshirts, singed by each Greeter

The Naval and Marine Corps commanders thank the greeters for their hospitality

The Naval and Marine Corps commanders thank the greeters for their hospitality