The Way We Get By

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Posted by: briansittley Comments: 0 0 Post Date: November 12, 2009

maine troop greeter JerryOff Topic: Anyone catch last night’s (Nov 11th) PBS showing of “POV”?  The one bearing this entry’s title?

Apropos of Veterans Day, POV showed the movie made by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pillapully about the Maine Troop Greeters, a group of (mostly) seniors who for the past several years now have made it their business to greet every single plane of arriving (and departing) troops headed overseas for combat.   The fellow captioned at left is Jerry, one of the featured greeters in the POV film.

Bangor, Maine is the exit/return point for the vast majority of troops headed back into the U.S. from Iran and Afghanistan.  These hardy souls, the Maine Troop Greeters, manage to ensure that someone is there to greet the returning troops, regardless of time of day or weather.  Some, though not all, are vets themselves (including WW II) vets.

I dare you to watch this film with a dry eye.  The Greeters appear to get at least as much out of this as they put into  it.  For some Greeters, it’s the chief source of any real value in their lives at this point. 

The returning vets appreciate the greetings.  They get free use of a cell phone to call anyone they want in the USA.  It’s often the first time that loved ones know of their return.  The Greeters thank the returning vets.  Many of the returning vets thank them — especially those who served in WW II.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, watch the film.

You can get the gist of it here at PBS’s website.  The site indicates that you can watch the film online until December 12th.  There you’ll also find interviews with the filmmakers and related materials.  Do it.  Then thank a veteran.  Regardless of your politics.

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