Welcome Home Troops Part 1

Article by Doug Besherse – March 16, 2007


I have been working in the outdoor industry on a national basis for 20 years now. For the most part it has always revolved around the archery part of the outdoor industry. What I have learned over the years is that archery has the ability to touch anyone, anywhere.

Nothing illustrates that more than my trip in 2004 into an active war zone to participate in an archery event in Iraq. My trip and the events that have transpired because of the trip have been documented for the most part here on BowHunting.net. This is yet another one to add to the growing list.

Ameriquest Field is impressive by most anyone’s standard !

I received an invitation from Tony Dukes to attend a Welcome Home Party for returning combat vets. The event was to be held 10 days later in Arlington TX at the Ameriquest Field (Texas Rangers Stadium). Bing, bam, boom –  I was on a plane headed there.

A view of the field from the banquet room.

I had never been to Ameriquest Field. I have seen many pro sport stadiums and this one ranks right there with the best of them, it was very impressive to say the least. The area inside where the event was being held left little to be desired with a great view of the field and a museum/ learning center attached to the party area.

Nolan Ryan display in the museum. I always wanted to throw like he could … but then again all pitchers still do!

The main attraction though was the military personnel who had just returned from combat. I was asked to interview some of them and their family members which I was honored to do. The interviews were done more or less off the cuff in front of video cameras.

None of the people knew they were going to be interviewed before they arrived, most didn’t know until a few seconds before they were actually interviewed. I would introduce them, ask a brief opening question and then let them start talking.

The Color Guard gets ready to kick things off. They presented the colors (flags) prior to the start of the party. It was very neat to watch them do that.

It was such a thrill to listen to these great Americans speak. In a world where most everything you see on TV news is so negative (especially about the war) all these people were so positive. They were confident and strong when they talked about their service and commitment to our country. They had determination in their voice when they brought up the world?s war against terrorism and our role as the leader to combat it.

Listening to these people was a very moving and inspirational experience. It renewed my faith in my country and my fellow Americans. I hope that you will be able to see some of the footage from these interviews on various outdoor shows in the future so that you to may also be inspired.

The main attraction of the party was the military personnel and their family members.

The military personnel and the family members that I meet and talked with that night are truly special. They buy freedom with blood, sweat, tears and sometimes their life. They then give that freedom to us simply because we are their fellow Americans. May we always be thankful for what they have done and continue to do for us.