Welcome home, 3/116

By Observer editorial September 15, 2011 08:15 pm
Buses carrying soldiers have been arriving in La Grande every few days for more than a week. The soldiers of the 3/116th are home again, and this community couldn’t be more proud of its National Guard unit. We thank you for your service to our country, but more than anything, we are just glad you’re all home safe and sound and able to renew life with your families. The arrival of the unit home from Iraq was quite different from that in 2005 when the unit arrived home en masse and the community was able to line Adams Avenue to salute the soldiers’ service. Because the arrivals this time were spread out over several days, the community
wasn’t able to roll out the red carpet quite like it did in  2005. But the appreciation for the soldiers’ service, and the joy of their return, is just as great.

The community, the nation in fact, owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women of the 3/116th — and all other National Guard units who have served abroad the past few years — for their dedication to our nation. Many of these units have done multiple tours of duty abroad, which is not exactly what many people expect when they sign up for the National Guard. But being soldiers to the core, they are willing to serve at whatever post they are assigned. For the 3/116, that meant two tours in Iraq. These people give up their jobs and spend a year away from family to fulfill their mission. We owe them, and this country must never forget their service.

Some will return to their jobs, but a large share of the soldiers will find themselves jobless. As a community we should do all that we can to make sure our soldiers find jobs. These people have been through a lot and sacrificed much. They shouldn’t have to face unemployment simply because they served their country.

We owe them for their service. Let’s all do whatever we can to make sure their return is a positive

Thank you for your service, 3/116th. Welcome home!