Welcoming back the troops


Flags were everywhere at the Lane County Fairgrounds in my hometown, Eugene, Ore. And proud relatives wearing “Proud Grandfather of a Soldier” and “Welcome home, Brandon” shirts.

As the eight buses arrived at 11:25 a.m., a motorcycle brigade in front, it reminded me of football teams arriving for a game — or home from a game. A few months back, when I called football players “heroes,” a reader chastised me. That, he said, was overstating it. I thought he was overreacting.

But as I watched the soldiers get off those buses, as I was reminded of the hell many have been though, as I saw them hug their loved ones, I realized this:

The man was right. Football players are minor-league stuff. These are the real heroes.

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