Volunteers Greet, Send Off Troops at Maine Airport

Hundreds of thousands of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars travel though Bangor International Airport in Maine. Often soldiers are allowed to enter the terminal as their airplanes clear customs or refuel, and that's where they'll encounter people like Bill Knight — a Maine troop greeter.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

In this part of the program, those who returned safely from Iraq and those who do not. We begin in Bangor, Maine, where American soldiers have stopped as they head overseas. This morning, four flights. At the terminal in Bangor, the outbound soldiers have a last chance to call loved ones.

It's also an opportunity for a group of volunteers to show their support for the troops.

Mr. WILLIAM KNIGHT: My name is William Knight. And I greet the troops here at the Bangor International Airport.

MONTAGNE: Bill Knight and his fellow volunteers have greeted more than 670,000 troops in the years since the Gulf War began. He's a veteran and he remembers soldiers being heckled when they returned from Vietnam. Now, he says, he's there to give soldiers top-notched treatment.

Mr. KNIGHT: We talk to them, we shake their hands when they come off the plane and welcome them to Bangor and back to the United States. Or if they're going over, we - well, we tell them that we'll be here when they come back.

MONTAGNE: Bill Knight and his fellow volunteers at the airport in Bangor, Maine.

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