It seems fitting that many of the troops deployed in Iraq will be returning home so close to Veterans Day. With President Obama’s declaration of a full troop withdrawal from Iraq by the end of 2011, roughly 39,000 soldiers are coming home some time between today and New Year’s Day.
That’s a lot of “Welcome Home” banners, t-shirts, buttons, signs, parties, parades – you name it – to get ready in a hurry. After all, they deserve it.
You know we’ve got you covered for whatever “Welcome Home” t-shirts you need to honor your special loved one returning home. But, since we also know that you’ll probably want to do more than your “Welcome Home, Mommy” or “Welcome Home, Son” t-shirts, below are a few ideas we think will make the return home even more special.
Free “Welcome Home” Banner
First thing you’ll want to do is go to BuildASign.com/troops to sign up for your free – yes free – “welcome home” banner. You’ll have to pay for shipping which runs about $7.50, but that’s it. BuildASign.com claims it will be able to fulfill all orders, but we recommend ordering as soon as you can to be sure yours arrives in time. The signs usually range in cost from $30 to $50.
The Big Card
Next, head on over to your local office supplies store or your preferred online store, and pick up a $5 piece of white 22″ x 24″ poster board. Fold it in half and you’ve got yourself a giant greeting card. Write a welcome message on the front and paste some cut-outs of pictures of friends and family. Then, have as many friends and family, as possible, sign the greeting card. E-mail those who are too far away to sign, ask them to write what they want to say. Then add those to the card as well. It will be a giant sign of just how much the soldier is loved and has been missed.
Now, Do Nothing
While your urge may be to shower your loved one with the attention of family and friends, and a grand celebration, you’re better off opting on the side of patience. Your soldier most likely wants time to decompress. Transitioning from war to regular society is stressful and surreal, even for experienced soldiers. Give your soldier a quiet, intimate evening at home with a nice home-cooked meal or one brought in from his or her favorite restaurant. No pressure to do anything or be anywhere. Just lend an ear if he or she wants to talk.
Then, Do What He or She Wants
Once your veteran has had time to reintegrate a bit and wants to have friends or family over, then ask what kind of gathering you should do and do your best to accommodate his or her wishes.