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Long-Awaited Welcome Home

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- The airport is a constant cycle. People come, and people go. It can be the scene of both happy hellos, and grim goodbyes.

Wednesday night at the Eastern Iowa Airport was a little bit different, however.

E6 Staff Sergeant Rick Reuter served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. At the time, public opposition to the war was strong.

When Reuter got back home, the welcome was less than warm. His son Kenny was barely old enough to remember.

I was only 6 months old when he came home, so I didn't get to do any cheering or yelling for him, Kenny says.

That was about to change.

Rick was selected for a trip to Vietnam for Purple Heart recipients. It was a chance to visit the country he once marched through as a soldier.

It gave his family an idea.

I always felt sad that he never go the welcome home I thought he deserved, his daughter Tami says. He makes the sacrifice for us, so we made the sacrifice for him and showed up.

So armed with flags, signs and hats, a soldier got his proper welcome. Rick walked off the plane, and into the terminal, with family and friends chanting his name.

I guess I'm at a loss for wordspretty special, he says, choking back tears.

In a terminal full of a never ending cycle of Hi's and Goodbye's, Rick Reuter got the best greeting of them all. It was one that was decked out in the red white and blue he fought for, 4 decades in the making.

So this is pretty cool, Rick says. No... it's way cool!
 
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