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Monday, February 19, 2007

Money Dries Up for Military Homecoming Celebrations

While our political leaders are determined to keep deep tax cuts in place for civilians during a time a war -- a move unprecedented in our nation's history -- our military begins slashing homecoming celebrations for troops returning to base following tours in Iraq due to budgetary shortfalls:

In response to continuing financial strains, U.S. Army Europe has canceled all welcome home celebrations for units returning from deployment through this fiscal year, halting the tradition of free food, rides and other community festivities for returning soldiers and their families. ... USAREUR will continue to host the formal welcome-home ceremonies for returning units, where the soldiers march in formation and the colors are unfurled, according to Lt. Col. Liz Hibner, a USAREUR spokeswoman. But the celebrations — full of free food, beer and, typically, some form of big-name entertainment — will be no more. ...

Local leadership is considering some sort of potluck supper for the returning company in place of a command-sponsored event, said Ignacio Rubalcava, a spokesman for the Baumholder garrison. “There is no money for welcome homes,” Rubalcava said Thursday, adding that even a potluck at the Rhinelander Club on Smith Barracks might have monetary issues attached. “[Garrison leaders] want to do something for the unit.”

But any kind of potluck for the company and its family members would have to be funded and supported by people in the community, he said.

Welcome home, indeed.

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