Welcoming the heroes

Bravo Troop to be greeted with waves of red, white and blue

MANISTEE — As the day gets closer for Bravo Troop’s return — it could come as soon as Saturday — plans are being made to welcome the Black Knights’ cavalry unit home.

Official word of when the troops will arrive has yet to be released, but that word is expected to come at any minute.

A parade through downtown Manistee is being planned, as well as a short ceremony at the Manistee National Guard Army. After serving nearly a year in Afghanistan, Bravo Troop returned to Camp Shelby in Mississippi last week, before they return to Manistee, probably within the next few days.

Members of Bravo Troop are seen during a ceremony prior to their nearly one-year deployment to Afghanistan. The soldiers are set to return to Manistee. (News Advocate file photo)

“Let’s give these heroes a true American ‘welcome home,’” said Rolling Thunder of Manistee County member John Stocki. “(We’re inviting the public to) come out and honor them and show their appreciation for their dedication and service to our country. We want to give these soldiers the welcome home ceremony they deserve for all their sacrifices for our freedom.”

Stocki said members of Rolling Thunder are also “…inviting all riders to help us escort Bravo Troop 126th Cavalry Regiment … from Grand Rapids airport back to the armory in Manistee.”

Stocki said Rolling Thunder members will hand out hundreds of American flags at various sites around the city for residents to pick up, and then display along River Street during Bravo Troop’s return. They flags will need to be returned.

Stocki said those sites for flag pick-up include Bloomer’s Flower Shop, Elks’s Lodge, Manistee Armory, Play Clothes, Goodies, River Street Station, River Street Stock Yard and Spirits and Manistee Variety, a few hours before Bravo Troop arrives in the city. Stocki also encouraged residents to bring their own flags for the welcome home parade.

“We need you, to help welcome our Bravo Troop home,” Stocki said. “Help us line River Street, from U.S. 31 to the Manistee Armory, with flags.”

Sgt/1st Class George Scott said Bravo Troop’s ceremony at the armory likely will be short, and sweet.

“Our ‘Freedom Salute’ ceremony honoring the troops will be held in January,” Scott said. “What we want to do now is get our boys home, have the community greet them, and then get them on their way. We want to get them to their homes, and their families.”

Editor’s note: As soon as the News Advocate receives definitive word on when Bravo Troop will arrive back in Manistee, we will post it here at manisteenews.com

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Posted by David L. Barber

David L. Barber is the retired editor of the Manistee News Advocate. He contributes columns weekly for the News Advocate. You can contact him at dlbarber1006@gmail.com.

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