Flight 423...A Memorial Day Weekend Highlight For Pease Greeters

Real Estate Agent with Bean Group Portsmouth NH

Flight 423...A Memorial Day Weekend Highlight For Pease Greeters

For most of America, Memorial Day Weekend memories include outdoor barbecues, opening pools, gardening and landscape projects and being with family and friends, to recharge the batteries and get ready for the busy summer season ahead.

Although I did spend much of this past weekend on garden and landscape projects, the highlight of this Memorial Day Weekend includes my "Pease Greeter" family and friends, welcoming Flight 423 to Pease International Airport, and meeting our men and women in the United States Air Force, who have made a brief fueling stop in Portsmouth, NH on their way to Iraq.

A tradition beginning in 2005, the Pease Greeters have been welcoming returning troops home and sending troops off for overseas duty and have logged their support for 423 flights to date. Regardless of the time of day or night and unpredictable changes in flight schedules, the Pease Greeters have never missed a flight.

Flight 423 arrived at 9:30 PM at Pease International JetlinerAirport on Sunday May 29th, and we join the ranks of Veterans, Boy Scouts, families with pets, and supporters of all nationalities - over three hundred strong - to welcome Flight 423. We waited patiently for the 79 Air Force men and women soldiers to depart the Miami Air 737 and make their way down the Heroes' Walk, through the gauntlet of well wishers amid cheers and thunderous applause.

People Meeting

Airman and BasketballPhone Rooms

Heroes Walk CorridorDuring their stop at Pease, the soldiers are treated to cheers and hearty handshakes from hoards of well-wishers, hot coffee, doughnuts and other treats, stuffed toys and are given access to a bank of phones where they may make calls anywhere in the country. All goods and services are provided by donation and volunteers. During a brief ceremony before departing, as a symbol of support, the Commanding Officer of the troop is presented a sweatshirt hand signed by each attendant Pease Greeter. Sweatshirt Presentation

A similar sweatshirt was presented to George W. Bush when a delegation of Pease Greeters was honored during a ceremony at the White House on March 10, 2008. New Hampshire's Governor John Lynch also received a sweatshirt when he presented an award to the Pease Greeters praising them for their service at a ceremony on July 28, 2010 at the National Guard Armory in Manchester, NH.

Final CeremonyIn addition to the hand-signed sweatshirt, each soldier receives an hand-hemmed star, cut from a decommissioned New England United States flag as a heartfelt token of our appreciation for their service and dedication.

Memorial Day is a time to not only remember our past heroes, but to celebrate the dedication and service of our current service men and women. I am proud to be a Pease Greeter and proud of our United States Military!

Dedicated Greeters

Pease GreetersHandshake Greeting

Pledge of Allegiance

The "Fence Force" wait outside the airfield fence with flashlights held high! This is about one third of the group!
Crowd of People

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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I had never heard of the Pease Greeters.  What a wonderful way to honor our current service men and women (and great pictures too).  Thanks for sharing.

Jun 02, 2011 12:50 AM #1
Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com... - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Neat!  God bless America!

Jun 02, 2011 01:03 AM #2
John McCarthy
Bean Group Portsmouth NH - North Hampton, NH
Realtor - Seacoast NH

Hi Kathleen - This all began with a man named Al Weston, who worked at Pease. He heard of a military flight that was about to land and called some of his fellow workers at the airport and asked them be there waiting for the troops. The rest is history.

Jun 02, 2011 01:06 AM #3
John McCarthy
Bean Group Portsmouth NH - North Hampton, NH
Realtor - Seacoast NH

Hi Kenneth - Thank you, Ken. These men and women deserve our support and thanks. We have three more flights scheduled for early June.

Jun 02, 2011 01:09 AM #4
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

John, I know the joy you feel when you greet them. I used to do this at DFW Airport on a regular basis. I need to get back there and do it again. It's the greatest feeling in the world to welcome them home.

Good for you for spending your day welcoming them home.


Jun 02, 2011 01:43 PM #5
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi John, I've never heard of the Pease greeters either. I would be a balling mess if I were there. What a very cool thing to do! What great pictures as well. A perfect way to celebrate Memorial Day each year.

Jun 02, 2011 04:54 PM #6
John McCarthy
Bean Group Portsmouth NH - North Hampton, NH
Realtor - Seacoast NH

Patricia - You are so right about the great feeling! Becoming a Pease Greeter was the subject of my first post, the experience was so moving. The stop-overs are brief, though. Usually they are on the ground for an hour and a half, so we are all mindful of the clock that we leave enough time for the ceremony before boarding.

Hi Cindy - I think you would do just fine as a Greeter. In the beginning, long before I became involved, the soldiers were not told about the Greeters and what to expect. Now though, after 6 years, I doubt if there is a soldier anywhere who isn't thrilled to learn they will be stopping at Pease, the welcome is so amazing. If you have a minute, you might visit my first post. The description of the first experience was more detailed than here.        http://actvra.in/75P

Jun 03, 2011 01:17 AM #7
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

John, what a great way to spend time on Memorial Day weekend!    This sure looks like it was rewarding for all attending!

Jun 07, 2011 04:27 AM #8
John McCarthy
Bean Group Portsmouth NH - North Hampton, NH
Realtor - Seacoast NH

Hi Joan - We have a departing flight headed overseas on Thursday and a returning flight on Saturday to look forward to. Our presence at Pease is so important to our soldiers. There are Greeters there who have never missed a flight. That's how dedicated this group is.

Jun 07, 2011 04:55 AM #9
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John McCarthy

Realtor - Seacoast NH
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