Inside Terminal D, the arriving troops walk through a glass-enclosed catwalk, visible to waiting passengers, before going through customs and picking up their luggage. Every day, there are a few greeters on the floor below the catwalk, cheering and screaming for the troops, who often smile, wave and take photos of their supporters.
Other passengers often applaud, too, standing up as they realize what’s happening around them.
Since the R&R; program began, about 224,000 troops have arrived at the airport from duty overseas, while another 217,000 have departed on their way back to the Middle East.
“It opens up a whole new perspective of life, being over there and having everything taken away from you, coming back, seeing loved ones,” said Lance Cpl. Marks. “It’s a really great moment for me.”