Veterans Say Goodbye to "Welcome Home a Hero" Program

Denton veterans reflect on final R&R flights

By Sara Story
|  Friday, Mar 9, 2012  |  Updated 6:43 PM CDT
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Members of the Vietnan Veterans of America Chapter 920 from Denton say the end of the Welcome Home Troops program at DFW Airport next week is a bittersweet ending for them.

Sara Story, Denton County Reporter

Members of the Vietnan Veterans of America Chapter 920 from Denton say the end of the Welcome Home Troops program at DFW Airport next week is a bittersweet ending for them.

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The end of military flights through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport marks the end of a journey for a group of North Texas veterans.

The military's rest-and-relaxation flights will end at DFW Airport next week. The U.S. Department of Defense is consolidating operations at Atlanta's airport.

Vietnam veteran Randy Grizzle and members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 920 made the trip from Denton to the airport to welcome home troops.

"We have served with honor," Grizzle said.

"These are our heroes," Vietnam veteran Jerry Anderson said.

Anderson and Grizzle, along with Frenchy Rheault and Robbie Roberts, are just four of the faces that appear in the welcome home crowd on a regular basis.

They said the Welcome Home a Hero program is emotional.

"Forty years ago, Vietnam veterans came home, and they came through the airports of America and all they needed was a thank you," Grizzle said. "There were people waiting for them, but they weren't there to tell them what a good job they had done."

"I wanted them to feel honored in what they are doing -- not be ashamed," Roberts said.

These men said a simple "thank you" means a lot.

"Maybe these guys will be old and gray, and they will be sitting in a rocking chair with their grandkids over them, and they will think back and say, 'I was coming through DFW, and I was feeling sorry for myself, and a complete stranger came up to me and said, 'Welcome home,' and it made all the difference,'" Grizzle said.

The final R&R flight arrival at DFW Airport is scheduled for Wednesday.

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